Reflection on Desire


O Lord, you know all my desires, and my sighing is not hidden from you. (Psalm 38:9. The Book of Common Prayer, p.637).  

We do not have to look very hard around us to know that we live in a time of instant gratification being on steroids.  Our computers, iphones, ipads and such can keep us tuned into everything from our favorite video games to social media and more.  As marvelous and amazing as these things are, there is still a deep void that cries out from within our hearts that longs to be filled by more than instant gratification can possibly satisfy.

The words from Psalm 38 are dangerous words.  They require us to let go of the things that bring us instant gratification, so that we may allow the God who wants to love us so deeply can truly fulfill our ultimate desire.  God brings us the fulfillment of desire that calls for us to abandon ourselves to give ourselves over to what is infinite and comes in God’s sweet time.  The desire to know beyond a shadow of doubt, that we are loved in ways that our minds could not possibly comprehend.  When we open ourselves to the God who knows all our desires and has heard our sighing even more that we can feel or utter; we risk being displaced by the Holy Spirit to be touched by things that we cannot see or explain, but calls us to a deeper love of God and our neighbor.  We can only know within ourselves that there is some thing or someone there, that touch cannot satisfy.  Our emotions may be engaged, but no feeling can actualize enough to say exactly what it is or surmised by any human logic.

In Contemplative Prayer and the mystical experience of the Holy One, we experience a glimpse of how much God desires us.  After all, the desires are there by God’s initiative not ours.  The sighs are not hidden from God, because those sighs are reaching out to our God who hears them as clearly as a sparrow in spring calling out for its mate.  It is that same creative and redemptive love through which Jesus gave His life on the Cross, and rose again from the dead so that we might experience such love from God’s perspective.  All we “know” is God, because God is all that matters.  The fulfillment of our desires for the One for whom our sighing is really meant.

May all of us grow in love and trust for our God who knows our desires, and hears our sighing.


Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB

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