OCTOBER 15, 2020 THURSDAY
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. — Psalm 37:7
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Over the past few days, we have looked at different stages of prayer that lead us through the Martha-state to the Mary-state. As a child, we begin to “talk” at God, listening to our parents pray, using their words for ours. We also begin to discover prayers of others – in hymns, the Psalms, written prayers in the Book of Common Prayer, or a devotional book to form words we “talk” at God. The next stage — we begin to use our own words. We “talk to God,” for ourselves. The third stage is “learning to listen” for God, who, shares our struggles, consoles; challenges us to repent, urges us to align our values with Jesus. God’ll celebrate victories with you. He wants you to trust him, “I love you always.” The last stage —“being with God,” learning to be in God’s presence, attentive, and at peace. The activities of prayer – talking at, talking to, listening — get us to that place of rest in the Lord’s presence – sitting quietly – not listening to our thoughts and emotions, just to be with God. It’s not easy. It takes practice, work and commitment. We like to be in control. Finally we do arrive at a “Mary-state.”
It seems to be harder in these months, for me to be still and quiet, within myself. The contemplative way does remove the real, difficult, and practical problems of a deadly virus, and life-draining anger and division all around us. The contemplative, “Mary-state” keeps us connected to that larger life in God’s love.
Contemplative life and prayer help us be still, while we’re in storms raging all about us. Think of a sturdy tree. In Milwaukee, winds would blow so hard across Lake Michigan you knew a tree could fall. They would bend, but not topple over. Their roots were deep. Like such trees, prayer and presence with God – wisdom-inspired living, sink our roots more deeply and stabilize our lives. We move, but are not uprooted. In times of sorrow and lament, alongside the joys of blessings – through chaos and angst, we are being drawn more fully into God, and through God’s grace – given peace that passes understanding and reason. And when the walls of sin, defensiveness, inner blindness begin to crack, crumble and fall, we sit attentively at Jesus’ feet in the glow of God’s everlasting love for all of us — that is surrendering to God. That is the direction that takes us to the “one thing necessary.”Blessings as you grow into a deeper relationship with God. We are on all this journey, together — Fr. Steve