Reflection on Desire

MountainImage

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.

Amen.

Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB

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

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