Our Relationship with The Holy

LightinDarkness

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”

The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”  (Isaiah 6:1-6).

The worship experience in this reading from Isaiah, suggests that God can be experienced.  God can be identified while touching us without the use of a hand.  Yet the symbols of the presence of God seem to transport and transform as the holiness of God becomes what is real, whole and good.

St. Benedict in chapter 19 of The Rule wrote, “We believe that the divine presence is everywhere and that in every place the eyes of the Lord are watching the good and the wicked (Prov. 15:3)“.

The presence of God invites us into a relationship with the holy.  It is listening to the Holy Spirit speak to us through life; in the beauty of creation and the wonder of what is beyond our comprehension.  In contemplative prayer, what is holy becomes not something that we reach, but it is about the Holy One reaching out and touching us.  This relationship with the holy is not limited to our moments of prayer and devotion.  It is to be acknowledged and lived into through the ordinary being transformed into what is extraordinary because we find God speaking to us there, asking us to listen.

May God continue to lead us into a deeper relationship with the holy.

Amen.

Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB

Reflection on The Holy Spirit: Spiritual by Communion

St.Basil

“The Spirit raises our hearts to heaven, guides the steps of the weak, and brings to perfection those who are making progress.  He enlightens those who have been cleansed from every stain of sin and makes them spiritual by communion with himself.” (St. Basil the Great.  The Liturgy of the Hours, Volume II, Lenten and Easter Season. p.975).

These words by St. Basil are a great meditation for us on the subject of contemplative prayer.  They remind us that contemplative prayer is a work of the Holy Spirit when we are open to the Spirit’s work in our hearts.  It is the Spirit of the Living God who lifts us beyond our senses and gives us a vision of God and all things as God sees them.

Through the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, we have been made anew by the grace of God through Christ.  As St. Basil writes, the Spirit then makes us spiritual by communion with the Spirit.  There is a reason why union is the end of the word communion.  The whole word implies that we are no longer an entity unto ourselves.  We are joined with the Community of all that is in Heaven and on earth in a loving, holy and mystical relationship that is the working of the Holy Spirit.  It is an intimate and life-giving union with God and one another.

In contemplative prayer, we experience the union with God that St. Benedict tells us to search for.  It is a union with God in all times, people and places.  Even those that seem to us that God must be absent.  Such as our hearts and lives shattered by disappointment, losses and despair.  Even there the Holy Spirit can reach us and turn our mourning into a joy that cannot be expressed in human words.  It is the Holy Spirit giving us new life where we were dead, hope where there was none and grace where it seemed all was lost.

May we seek to be enlightened by the Holy Spirit to see, know and love God anew as God reveals God’s Self to us and to others.

Amen.

Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB

Ascension Day Reflection: Seek The Things Above

sky-matthew-bohrer

Thank you to Matthew Bohrer for this splendid image that I have chosen to use for this blog reflection.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1).

As human beings who tend to think by logic, we have a real problem with the Ascension do we not?  We have the account of the Ascension in Acts 1:1-11.  However, we were not physically there looking up to heaven and witnessing Jesus taken from their sight with those first Apostles.  All we have to go on is faith and the oral and/or written tradition through which the Holy Spirit has handed us the story throughout the ages.

If we consider the Ascension from the perspective of contemplative and/or centering prayer; now we have something that is mysterious and as real as grass and water.  Contemplative prayer is a grace through which we are given a glimpse of heaven and earth from where Jesus is.  Though the Risen Body of Jesus bears our wounded humanity, in Christ we are already healed.  The Holy Spirit desires more than we could ever wish, that those wounds in our own lives that have been healed in Christ; would actually be healed for ourselves.  God also knows that it is only by our cooperation with God’s timing and grace that such healing will happen.  Contemplative prayer allows us to “seek the things that are above” and see what God sees.  The holiness of God and all humankind in and through Jesus Christ by the Power of the Holy Spirit in inexpressible love.  We cannot see such if we are clinging to the things of earth alone.  We must know it through our relationship with God and one another, as we journey together in faith, trust and obedience to God’s will to where Christ is seated.

As we contemplate this great mystery of the Ascension of Christ today, may we be given that extra special glimpse of God in and through the ordinary things of life.  May that vision bring us closer to God; with healing and reconciliation to our wounded and broken world.

Amen.

Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB