Here I Am, O Lord

Seeking

 

“Sacrifice and and offering you do not want; but ears open to obedience you gave me.  Holocausts and sin-offerings you do not require; so I said, “Here I am; your commands for me are written in the scroll.  To do your will is my delight; my God, your law is in my heart.” (Psalm 40: 7-9. The New American Bible).

 

The word “obedience” is a scary one for many of us to hear.  We live in the age of do as you wish and do not care about anyone or anything else.  Lest we be ignorant, all of us are affected by such.  Including myself.  I love that I can do anything I want without much competition.  I can make the choice to be locked up inside myself and give myself over to some form of instant gratification.  Some of those choices are not entirely choices.   Many of them come from the influence of my upbringing and other people, and the culture around me.

St. Benedict in the Prologue of The Rule writes about the importance of turning our ears and hearts to God that we may know what God is calling us to; beyond ourselves and our small world view.   St. Benedict understood that it is not possible to know what God asks us to be obedient to God without “inclining the ears of our hearts” to what the Holy Spirit is saying.   When we take the time to really listen, and I do not mean listen as if it hits us like lightening; but with an openness to hear what the Spirit is saying, not what we want to hear.  It takes some real silence and a willingness to obedience not out of fear, but for the love of God alone.

Our point of contemplation and the mystical experience is beyond what we see or know; it is how the God who made everything and has reached out to us in the Word Incarnate and now calling us to respond to God’s love and give ourselves in total surrender to God’s will.  Each of us will respond and say “Here I am” differently.  Mary responded in her way.  Saint Paul in his. The most crucial thing is to listen in the here and now and let go.

What might God be asking you to respond with, “Here I am, Lord” ?

Amen.

Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB

The Manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ

feast of the epiphany

 

“For we’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.” (Matthew 2:2, Common English Bible).

I get the sense that the Magi were very contemplative men.   They each saw this star that was unusual to them.  They did not take it at face value alone.  They sensed that there was more to it.   They saw the star as drawing them to seek something much more significant than the star.  The star must have woken something in their hearts to leave their distant lands to look for whatever the star was pointing to.  It was not just a visual or metaphysical phenomena.  It was illuminating something wonderful, important and life-changing.  They would never see the world the same way again.

If we read Saint Matthew’s Gospel chapter 2 a little further we read:

“When they saw the star, they were filled with joy.  They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him.  They opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”

Additionally, I get the sense that once they found out where the star was leading them; the joy from within came from knowing that what they contemplated within themselves became a living reality.  They knew where the true treasures of their hearts belonged.  In response, they handed over all that was valuable to them materially and symbolically to the God who manifested God’s Self in Christ.

Today, God continues to manifest God’s presence in and through the many symbols and signs of the world.  God uses them to call us to seek union with Christ from the inside out.  God radiates the Light of God’s Son, Jesus the Christ into our hearts so that we may see the best of what God has for us; so that the treasured love of Christ within us can reflect from our hearts to a world of darkness and doubt.

How is God seeking to manifest Christ through us today?

Amen.

Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB

 

Meditation on Dwelling in the Presence

cropped-simplereflection.jpg

 

How dear to me is your dwelling, O Lord of hosts!  My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God. (Psalm 84:1. The Book of Common Prayer, p.707).

We are on the Second Sunday After Christmas now.  It is also the third day of a new year.  As the Christ Child brought with Him a new beginning; a new year is also.  There are so many things around us calling out for our attention.  We have before us many choices to make.

When God came to us in the Incarnate Word, Jesus offers to us many opportunities to make choices.   Each of us will make different choices in different ways, that will have different results.  The decisions we make will be opportunities for us to grow closer to God, as God desires to be closer with us.   The questions God asks each of us is “What is the desire of your soul?”  “In what and whom do you rejoice?”

We are invited by the Psalmist to spend some time listening to God’s desire for us, to desire God.   Our desire for God is of God’s initiative.  God asks us to make the choice of how we will respond to such a deep desire.   We are invited by God’s grace to enter into the contemplative vision of God’s dwelling place.  As the sparrow finds a place, so God has prepared one for us within the depths of God’s bosom.

Do our hearts and flesh desire to rejoice in the living God?

Amen.

Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB