Saint Theresa of Avila saw what watering does for a garden, prayer does for the soul. I will deal with her first way, as this has been my own experience. Just as I had to draw the water to the garden so too we have to draw the water of prayer to the garden, that is our soul. I had to go to the source to fill those drums, so we too must go to The Source of Living Water, Jesus Christ. he Himself claims to be the source, of living water. Now-a-days we have to pay for water. The scriptures reminds us that this living water is free. We are to come without money, but we are to bring a 'soul-bucket" that is empty. The reality and harshness of everyday living empties us, big time. We do not have to live in fear. Our Shepherd Gardner will make sure we will have ALL that is necessary for our safe nourishment and growth. A well can and does run dry. The Fountain of Living Water is an eternal source of all that is necessary for eternal life. We must also keep in mind, the emptier the bucket, the more water we can receive. So when we get to that stage where we are most emptied of any of our own strength, we are in the best possible place. For it now, we are really ready for that which will renew, refresh, and reinvigorate us. We will get what is necessary to “pick up our cross" and continue on behind Him who goes before us, yet is able to share the common yoke. A paradox, yes, embrace this one as you would embrace ant other. Paradoxes are that which stretches us, and draws us into the realm we would not otherwise go to. This one goes with Paul's "It is only when I am weak it is then, I am strong”. Our egos will fight this tooth and nail. The journey into the acceptance of human weakness, and powerlessness in a power-full struggle. One we pray our egos loose. Why of the following. In the Old Testament God, when asked, "Who are you?", answers simple, "I Am, who Am". He also says, "Go and tell them, I Am sent you". We are the small "I am not the Great One”.
Since God's name for Himself is, I Am, then when we are able to say 'I am' strong, we are actually saying, I am, God strong. What a great gift emptiness is??? The following is some of the life giving water that has been offered to you and I over these last number of weeks. The source of this water is from the tap we call ,the opening prayer. Like a cold drink of water, on a scorching Arizona day, this is to be sipped slowly not gulped. down. We all enjoy to feeling of taking that mouth full of water and let it slowly seep it's way down our parched throats. As it works it's way down what a refreshing feeling that is. May that physical reality, become you spiritual reality. So drink freely, but slowly.
"God of the universe-God ever close to us we rejoice to call you Father (Mother).” From this worlds uncertainty we look to your covenant (of faith full love)..We ask for Your guidance. ..Father in the rising of your Son death gives birth to new life. The suffering He endured restore hope to a fallen world. Let sin never ensnare with empty promises of passing joys...so that our love may give life. Father, let the light of your truth guide us on the way to your kingdom through a world filled with lights contrary to Your own. May your love make us what you have called us to be. Father, may the gift of your life continue to grow in us, drawing us from us from death to faith, hope, and love. Keep us alive in Christ. Keep us watchful in prayer, and true to His teachings.....Father of everlasting goodness, our origin and guide... gifts without measure flow from your goodness to bring us Your peace. Our life is Your gift. Guide us on life's journey, for only You can make us whole(holy). Keep us strong in Your love.... Your Spirit has made us tour children, confident to call you Father. Increase your Spirit(of love), within us. Touch our hearts, help them grow. Touch our lives, make them signs (sacraments) of your love for all humankind.
The above is a composite of opening prayers from the Sundays beginning on the 12th. Sunday of Ordinary Time through the 19th Sunday. Since I am dealing with the gifts that come from theses prayers I might as well include my own favorite. This is from The Fourth Sunday of Lent:
" God our Father, Your Word, Jesus Christ, spoke peace to a sinful world and brought humankind the gift of reconciliation by the suffering and death He endured. Teach us, the people who bear His name, to follow the example He gave us: may our faith, hope, and charity turn hatred to love, conflict to peace, death to eternal life.”
Now, why don’t you write, or print out just a few of these comforting, and consoling prayers. Keep them handy so they will be readily available when the need arises. This we can all be certain of, the need will arise, and often We then must be responsible for that which we are able to provide for ourselves. God will not do that. He will not do what He knows we can do. Whether we do it or not, that is our decision. For that we are responsible. Becoming mature is accepting that responsibility. What happens when we pray those prayers that is in our God's domain. We will ALWAYS be given what we need not what we want. Gandhi word come to mind;
“God will take care of our needs not our greed". Even into the spiritual life we find lust and greed. That is when we are honest!!!! “Honesty is progressive." Gut honest prayer will always lead us out of our illusions.
We will slowly grow into a deeper honesty with ourselves, others, and our God. It is not easy. we have to pray for this gift of honesty. Always keep in mind; "When I am honest about being dishonest, I AM being honest" I have always liked that saying.
So, until next week let us keep watering the gardens of our souls through every day prayer. Your work, whatever it may be, IS your prayer. Embrace this reality, and know wherever you are, there is your God. Say Hi to That Presence, in your own unique way. Do it frequently, at first it will feel "weird", then as you develop the habit, through grace, you will become more and more comfortable. You are going to be surprised, and yes, even shocked at the conversations, and at the tone of said conversations. God is not anxious to hear the prayers of others coming from you. He/She is your lover, your beloved waiting, as the hymn says, "right beside you"
This Presence IS a living presence, and your life makes it so. What a wonder-full mystery real life is?