My dictionary defines “linger” as “to continue to stay, as
though reluctant to leave.” It is an
intriguing definition for one who wishes to be contemplative. Contemplatives are lingerers, ones who know
that the longer we gaze upon something, the more deeply and fully we actually see it.
Contemplatives have learned through experience that the way to know God
is to spend time “gazing upon Him” in prayer.
I like to linger beside my favorite window. I recognize, as I look through the glass,
that there are two ways of experiencing a view. One way is to glance briefly toward it. Another is to sit down and linger. After awhile, the lingerer becomes aware of things missed in a
once-over viewing. Sun glancing off a
parked car, turning light into sharp darts of color. The first yellow of a daffodil.
A squirrel running gracefully across the lawn.
I am refreshed when I take time to linger with the beauty of
nature. I’m refreshed and changed when
I linger with Jesus. Having spent time
with Him, I find that perhaps I see Him just a bit more clearly. Whether I am aware of it or not, I’ve gotten
to know Him better than I knew Him before the time of lingering. I may even become aware of gifts -
inspirations, insights, comfort, serenity - that I would not have experienced
had I not lingered. “I often wait with great graces until towards the end of
prayer,” Jesus said to St. Faustina.
Graces wait for those willing to linger….
Scriptures for prayer:
“I have waited, waited for the Lord, and he stooped toward
me and heard my cry. He drew me out of
the pit of destruction, out of the mud of the swamp; He set my feet upon a
crag; he made firm my steps, and He put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our
God.” (Psalm 40:2-3)
“Let your belts be fastened around your waists and your
lamps be burning ready. Be like men
awaiting their master’s return from a wedding, so that when he arrives and
knocks, you will open for him without delay.” (Luke 12:35-36)
And for personal reflection
Am I willing to linger
with God for a few extra minutes of prayer today? To talk to Him just a
little while longer, praise Him one more time, listen for the gentle
inspirations of His Holy Spirit?
What happens when I do
Text not in quotes © 2012 Nancy Shuman. All Rights Reserved.