Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The wrecks of comprehension…

Mary’s understanding of her nothingness is also saying something about you. Your worthiness is given. It is not attained. It is God in you searching for God. It is God in you that believes and hopes and cares and loves. There is nothing that you can take credit for. It is something you just thank God for!

Eventually you will not be inclined to say, “I prayed today.” Rather, you will want to say, “Prayer happened today—and I was there!” Whatever you do in communion is prayer. When your mind, your heart and your body are all present; that kind of full presence is automatically prayer. At that moment God is able to use you and speak to you.

I believe Mary is the model for being used by God. And we, like her, are just standing here saying, “Let it be done unto me” (Luke 1.38). All we can do is let it happen.

Richard Rohr, from an unpublished talk


The longer I go on in this life that is about prayer, the less I realise I know about it. As Rohr says here, prayer happens. Sometimes, I’m not even sure I am there. Prayer is all wrapped up in dreams, these days, too. Some nights are so filled with dreaming that is prayer, or prayer that is dreaming, that I’m not always sure what is sleep and what is not. But these are not dreams of the prophetic, “God gave me a dream – better sit up and write it down!” variety. They rise out of sleep like the wrecks of crippled warships rising out of sand and silt, full of pain and the memory of pain, and sink again in the half-waking susurration of the Jesus Prayer. They are nothing I do; their content has generally nothing to do with my life or even my experience.

My day-life goes on, filled with light and truth as never before. My Susan and I are engaged now, and our parallel Third Order vocations are calling us into a “community of two” – we are so excited to see where God might take us in this path together. The more obscure and baffling these sleeping prayers become, somehow, the more blessed are these long days of early summer.

But this mystery of prayer continues darker than ever. It’s as though my mind has no reference for what is going on, rather as something illuminated by radiation outside the human visual spectrum appears dark to us, and yet may be bathed in a light we cannot see. I feel like Abram asleep after meeting Melchizedek, blanketed by “a deep and terrifying darkness” that I don’t understand. And yet I know that it is God’s darkness; that it means nothing but good, and peace, and healing for things that are not in my experience.

All I can do is be here, try to be present to what God is doing, as best I can, and leave the outcome up to him. Our Blessed Lady is my guide and mentor; she went this way before, to an extent no-one else has ever been called to go. From the Annunciation, to the Cross, and on to Pentecost, she was present in silence to God’s highest doing. From the beginning, her life was a surrender more active than we can comprehend, more passionate in its stillness than our hearts can embrace. No wonder all generations call her BlessĂ©d…

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