Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Lingering, Revisited

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….
Lingering with (say) Psalm 145,  I might begin with the words of praise to which the psalm calls me.  I ponder the greatness of the Lord.  I notice the beautiful day outside my window, and thank Him for the wonders I see.  I have been struck, when praying with this psalm, by verse 4:  'Generation after generation praises Your works..'  This has led me into prayer for my children, my grandchildren, and all future generations of my family to come, ever.  God sees them, even now.  I pray that they will praise His works; that they will know, love and serve Him in their time and throughout eternity.

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)

For personal reflection:

- Am I willing to linger with God for a few extra minutes of prayer today?

- Am I willing to talk to Him just a little while longer, to praise Him one more time, to listen for the gentle inspirations of His Holy Spirit?

- What happens when I do this?


Text not in quotes

Painting: Alfred Stevens, Symphonie, in US public domain due to age


  1. Your posts are always a retreat on a page -- 5 mins for me to recenter on Christ - thank you!

    1. Allison, what a wonderful thing to say - thank you so much!

  2. Lovely and rushes to my soul! Now, in the morning,with a cup of coffee and the morning sun, I will read these psalms. I have a date to spend with the King! For now, G'night
    thank you Nancy

  3. Ah, I love your expression of lingering! It is beautiful and such a gift. the greens in the painting are fresh air for the eyes this time of year in Ohio. Thank you for your insights about taking time to linger, to be more fully in the moment. I agree with Allison Gingras in that your "posts are always a retreat on a page." Absolutely!!!! Hope you are experiencing a long lingering Lent. God bless....

    1. Thank you so much. "Fresh air for the eyes" - I love that!