JULY 21, 2020 – TUESDAY
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8: 26-27
Dear Church Family,
More Jesus parables this Sunday. In different analogies Jesus opens us to a mystery we cannot define as much as experience within – the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is like this – and this – and this. Its growth is imperfect, not smooth. It happens in fits, starts and restarts. The Kingdom of God is an exercise in patience — God’s with me, and for me to never give up on its growth in me.
Prayer has been a slow, but constant unfolding for me — as a child, learning by listening to my parents pray and as a pastor and priest, stumbling and finding God is there to pick me up. I once said when asked, “Sure, I’ll pray for you,” intending to do so. Later, that person thanks me for my prayers. I replied, “You’re welcome,” not remembering what I prayed for.
That moment shook me. I’d left what needed to be in my heart, in my head. Prayer may begin in the head, but travels into your heart. That’s different than thinking good thoughts for someone. They become a part of your life. You’re aware of them and their needs, as you pray for them, entrusting them into God’s loving and healing presence. Henri Nouwen says it’s a mystery we experience, not try and understand. The heart, the center of our being, “is transformed by God into his own heart, a heart large enough to embrace the entire universe.” In prayer we offer God our love and concern for each other, as well as all human pain and suffering, conflicts and divisions, and hopes. Then, as Nouwen says, “God’s heart becomes ours.” God takes our intentions and desires into his heart. As Paul says, the Spirit prays for us when we offer our desires into God’s will, knowing God is doing far more than we can ask or imagine.
Today, as you can, think about who is most on your heart of concern right now. Make some time. Offer God more than a name and a wish. See the person, and God holding them in His love with you. God’s Kingdom is not a destination, but a journey through this life. Yeast doesn’t stop growing us. The tree gets taller. The pearl becomes more valuable. I learned not to neglect the journey — but cherish what I learn, listen to God teaching me, and thank God for giving the growth in me, strengthening my heart with His.God’s grace and love healing and holding you, and those you love, this day —Fr. Steve