Friday, September 18, 2015
What I Did Not Miss
I sat with a list of suggestions on how to pray with Scripture (shared in our last post, from the writings of 'A Religious'), and opened my Bible to a reading from the Gospel of Luke. I read a few lines slowly, and waited. I read the lines again, and waited. I asked Jesus what He wanted to reveal to me, and I waited. 'Keep on doing this until the words begin to live,' the anonymous Religious had suggested. So I did.
The words I read were good words, holy words, straight-from-the-written-Word-of-God-words, and I received them with gratitude. I thanked God for the words, and for His written word, and for gifts I was aware of and gifts I didn't know I was receiving. But did the words live? From my perspective, that did not seem to be the case.
However, from the perspective of the way things really ARE, the words were alive indeed - and I knew that. 'For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any two-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.' (Matthew 4:12)
Did I feel any different because of the words I had read, or because of the prayers I prayed as a result of reading them? No, I cannot say that I did. Is the word of God living and active even when I do not feel it? Yes, absolutely.
Perhaps it can be compared to an unborn baby. Such a one lives within its mother for months before its movements can be felt. Mommy goes through her days unaware of the leaps, stretches, yawns, kicks and punches of the active person living inside her. Baby's life does not depend upon Mommy's constant awareness of it. Baby is alive, and that is simply an objective fact.
God's word is alive, and that is a objective fact. Not everyone accepts it as fact, but that doesn't make it any less true. God has said it. 'The Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord's Body.... In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet His children, and talks with them.' (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 103-104)
I am happy to report that in my concentrated prayer time today, I felt words of Scripture stirring and leaping in my heart and mind. I had some sense of the Father coming to meet me, His child. But it's interesting. That is not the experience I've felt drawn to report on here.
I would rather share my intense gratitude for the gifts of yesterday's prayer. The gift of knowing, maybe in a deeper way, that God's word IS living and active. The gift of knowing that God has gifts for me, whether or not I see or hear or feel them. The gift of acceptance of whatever God wants to give me, or ask of me, or do with me, forever.
How glad I am that I took that block of time to be with God.
There were gifts, solid gifts. I would hate to have missed them.
Painting: Robert Lewis Reid