Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.(Psalm 139:23 NRSV).
As I briefly researched other translations of Psalm 139:23, I came across words such as “investigate” and “examine.” Which ever word you chose, it appears that the Psalmist is opening her/himself up to let God look deeply into oneself.
One of the main pieces of centering prayer is to accept our thoughts and let them go. It is about surrendering our whole selves to God in silence so that we can be with God at the center of our being. In centering prayer we do not avoid thoughts or pretend they are not there. We simply learn to accept them just as one accepts that there is traffic passing by outside. Thomas Keating in Open Mind, Open Heart writes of being in the middle of a conversation and suddenly you hear a loud voice or noise; you acknowledge it, and then go back to what you were doing. Centering prayer is the same kind of idea. We acknowledge that it is there, but we detach ourselves from it.
Recently, I prayed these words from Psalm 139:23 as I began doing centering prayer. I had given God permission to search the things that flood my heart and mind on a conscious level. The more God searched, the more God found. As God found it, I found the grace to surrender it into God’s hands.
God desires to search us to love us in those places where we wander aimlessly. God wants to meet us where we accumulate “stuff” and help us to let it go. God knows us better than we know ourselves. God also wants us to let go of our “need” to hang on to things.
Let God search your heart and mind today. Let God love you where you hurt so deeply. God will bring the grace of Jesus and the consolation of the Holy Spirit. It is about the journey of faith. It is about encountering the holy in the midst of what seems to be in chaos.
Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB