Sunday, March 1, 2020

Gut Honesty and Prayer

"It is not that I love God, but that God loves me.  Not that I give love but that I accept love" (St. John).  "O god help me to believe the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is." That would  be the gift to give to myself, to see myself as God sees me.

These are the givens, the building blocks, which must always be kept before us so we can enjoy, and have a sense of celebration on this journey to our God and with our God.  Joy is all about who we are not about what we have that is happiness.  The whole season of Lent is a journey of conversion leading us to the joy of slowly discovering who we really are.  Lent is a journey therefore into change, and what human being among us likes change?  I have come across so very few.  We like the familiar, the present, and want the security of knowing where we are going.  Our faith journey on the other hand is a journey into uncertainty, not certainty.  Our egocentric egos want none of that.  The egocentric self is not our true self, but a self created reality, enabling us to survive, not live.  The true self, created in the image and likeness our Gracious Creator is the one therefore that our God knows, loves.  Praying from our true selves, from our deepest reality, is a prayer that always works. This prayer can also be called "our gut prayer."

In my 57 years of pastoral ministry I have heard some awe-full, wonder-full, stories of fellow human beings who tell of their experience with "gut prayer." This prayer of honesty does not bubble up from the depths, it somehow surfaces when everything else has not worked.   It seems that it also be called the prayer of abandonment.  Our places of abandonment are not places we choose to enter into. Living out of the false self, and all of its demands, brings us to that place.  God does not intend for us to go there, but once we have ended up there, our God reaches out and enfolds us in Her/His loving embracing hug.  In that mysterious encounter courage is given to pray our "gut prayer."  So very often it is a crying out to the unknown.  A crying out from our place of abandonment and desperation for help to do what we by ourselves are unable to handle. This "gut prayer" would not make it into any one of the accepted books of prayer.  So often cursing is involved in this prayer of desperation.  Is God offended by this?  Of course not.  It is people with big egos that get offended.  God has no ego, so to offend the true and living God is NOT possible. 

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