“O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you, as in a barren land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1. The Book of Common Prayer, p.670).
The image above is a field of cracked dry land. It seems endless. It seems hopeless. Very little if any can grow on it. There is no water to nurture or sustain life on this fractured land.
Our lives are often like broken, dry land. The heat of life’s many experiences bares down on us and seems to dry up the moisture needed to sustain us. We grow tired and feel helpless and useless. Our lives and even our faith cracks and our souls cry out for some kind of relief.
The Psalmist feels the same way. The Psalmist knows that the only hope one has of recovering is to seek God as one’s God, eagerly as one is. Thirsty, fainting, barren, cracked open. The point of the Vow of Stability in Monastic Spirituality is to seek stability in our relationship with God as we are; not as we wish we were, or others might like us to be. We seek stability in Christ by taking the masks off and letting go of every sense of hopelessness that tells us that there is no way that God can make use of us in our present circumstances. Benedictine-Camaldolese spirituality of solitude and silence, tells us that it is in this very moment with our lives as they are, is where God has us, and works God’s will through us.
As I spent time meditating on these words in contemplative prayer today, I experienced a mystical moment in which I saw what appeared to be God’s water of new life gushing out to fix the cracks in the dry land. While the water was flowing over the cracks, the cracks were not being filled, and the land was not refreshed. I asked the Holy Spirit what was happening. I got the feeling that God’s waters do not always fill all the cracks and completely mends us together, because God still has plans for us through our cracked and wounded lives. If God washes over all the cracks and dry spaces, God may not be able to heal other wounds that we have yet to trust in God to mend. Sometimes what remains broken, is another opportunity for God to bring healing to us at another point in God’s timing. What I found myself needing to let go of, is my desire to control what I think God should do about every crack in the dry lands of my life. Though I may think of them as wounds that can do no further good for me or others,; God still has work to do in and through my brokenness to bring me to a greater life of holiness and wholeness. In the end it is not up to me what God does with my cracked and dry land. I have to surrender that into God’s hands.
In God’s care and Providence, our brokenness is something God can do many wonderful things yet to be experienced.
“What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of His Grace.” (RB 1980: The Rule of Saint Benedict in English. The Prologue, verse 41, p.18).
“1. Sit in your cell as in Paradise… 7. Sit like a baby chick, content with the grace of God, who, unless its mother gives it something, knows nothing and has nothing to eat.” (From The Short Rule of St. Romuald).
What are you letting God do with the cracks and wounds in your life?
Peace be with all who enter here.
Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB-CoS
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