Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday Prayer

This week I thought we might look at the words of Teilhard de Chardin to help us rest into the prayerfulness of the sabbath.

In this quote from his writing, I hear him inviting us to simply be in this moment as we know it and understand it. I hear an invitation to trust in God's presence, and in the holiness of all creation.

Teilhard de Chardin says, "By means of all created things, without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us and moulds us. We imagined it as distant and inaccessible, whereas in fact we live steeped in its burning layers. In eo vivimus. As Jacob said, awakening from his dream, the world, this palpable world, which we were wont to treat with the boredom and disrespect with which we habitually regard places with no sacred association for us, is in truth a holy place, and we did not know it. "

I love the way he balances the ordinary with the extraordinary, placing no barriers in the way of either. For me at least, the days when I can sense the holiness surrounding me is truly a sabbath day, for I can rest into God's presence just as a cat nestles into my lap while the sun shines through my window.

And yet, we all know that trusting in God's mysterious presence can be deeply challenging. We have all experienced the hollow echoing within ourselves when God seems to be missing in action. It is at those times especially that we need to dig deep and find the patient trust that first alighted our souls with the belief that we are not alone. God is with us. Thanks be to God. For all who search for the glowing ember of faith deep within themselves this day, we pray for God's peace.

I like this translation from a letter of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ. It reads as a prayer of patient trust:

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We would like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet, it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability -
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually - let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don't try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time,
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming in you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

This is from the prayer book titled "Hearts on Fire: Praying with the Jesuits."


1 comment:

Rainbow Pastor said...

Prayers--retroactive and current--going up for you all.

I try to come by here every day, even if I don't comment. This has been a difficult week for me and I don't know why. So I haven't been in my usual routine...

Prayers for Matt, as usual, and those dealing with the aftermath of ended relationships, for young people trying to find their way, for all who are lonely or depressed or fearful--we ask your presence, Holy One.