Wednesday, November 7, 2012

An Act of God

As I've been praying, and writing about, and trying to live lectio divina over these last weeks, there is one part I'd almost forgotten.

Lectio is not a one sided activity.  I read, I talk to God, I commit to Him.  And then....

Something happens.

This is not always a "felt" something.  It may not be perceived by me at all.  But when I am speaking with Jesus and reading His Word and committing myself to live for Him, an amazing thing is going on.  Jesus is actually here.  Not just in my imagination, not by an act of wishful thinking, but He is genuinely here.

I can forget this breathtaking reality when my prayer has been dry or weighed down with distractions.  But Jesus is actually here, regardless of how I feel.  AND...

He is doing something.  Sometimes He brushes my spirit with His presence, sometimes He breathes a word of Scripture into my life, sometimes He lets me see a path I might be called to take.  But always He is here, and always He is acting.

In my lectio yesterday, I thought about doorways.  When I pray with Scripture, I must make a first step, pick up my Bible, and thus open the "door." As I read and pray, I open my heart to Christ more widely.  But it can be hard to keep a door open, especially if it's only slightly ajar.  Its natural tendency may be to swing closed.  I must make an effort to hold it open.  I compare this to the way my mind drifts as I try to hold it open to Christ in prayer.  Sometimes I have to find "props" to help me refocus and keep the door from slamming shut.

But there's one thing I've noticed about doors.  When they are partially open, they often close under their own weight.  Yet when they are opened beyond a certain point, most of them stay open on their own. 

Yesterday I began to feel God's help in keeping the "door" open.  It's almost as if I'd been holding it until my arm had grown tired, and then, quite unexpectedly, Someone took the weight of it from me.

Then, it's as if He walked in.  Somehow, it was as if He stepped more deeply into my life, into my awareness, into my prayer, and quietly led more of the "conversation."  And as impossible as this is to describe, I know I should not use the phrase "as if."  There's no "as if" about it.  Our Lord let me know, in some mysterious way, what I had believed by faith all along..... 

that He is here.  

"Experiences of God are far, far more than anything we can fabricate for ourselves.... when God gives someone the unspeakable experience of Himself in contemplative immersion, He leaves no stone unturned."  (Father Thomas Dubay SM, Fire Within, Ignatius, 1989,  p. 47)