Tuesday 24th March 2020

Day 28   Putting Up the Sails

“And suddenly there came from heaven a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire place.” So the coming of the Holy Spirit was described in Acts 2:2. God’s Presence is often described as a wind or breeze flowing through life in all the spiritual traditions. The 19th Century Hindu holy man Sri Ramakrishna said that: “The grace of God is a wind which is always blowing. All that you and I have to do is to put up our sails and let the wind carry us across the sea of life.”

Our prayer mantra is the sail we put up to catch the breeze of God’s grace and presence, and allow that presence to carry us across life’s ocean. Our prayer mantra is a sail that catches the breeze of the Prayer of Christ that blows through life. Far too often we work against life’s circumstances, fighting them, doing battle with them, instead of simply putting up the sails and allowing God to negotiate us through the currents that run through life.

True prayer is an act of surrender to God’s presence and love in life; it is an act of trust that God’s grace will carry us and hold us in life. But it is so difficult to surrender to the breeze of God’s Holy Spirit and grace, it is so difficult to simply trust where it will take us. We do not like not being in control; we want to be the ones to pull the strings and dictate outcomes. To relinquish control to another, even God, is one of the hardest things in life. Prayer, at its heart, is a reminder that we cannot and do not rely on our own strengths and skills, and that life is about letting go and allowing God to carry us in the flow of love, mercy and grace.

Jesus knew this, which is why he prayed: “Not my will, but thy will be done.” Our Lady Mary knew it, which is why she prayed: “Be it into me according to thy word.”

Each Good Friday our worship begins with the priest lying prostrate before the altar; it is an act of surrender on behalf of all, to the love, mercy, and grace of God. It is one of the most beautiful symbols of prayer because, in the end, what else can we do when we come face to face with such love except surrender to it?

The mantra is a prayer of surrender, a prayer of simply putting up the sail to the wind of God’s Holy Presence in life.

……………………………………….

Shocking!
After all these years to discover
I’d got it the wrong way around
all together.
An interesting beginning
to a Tuesday morning.
All this time I have been trying
to surrender to You,
only to find that it is You
who has surrendered to me!
Completely.
Utterly.
Nothing held back.
I should have known,
it is the only way that
surrender to You
becomes possible.

++++++++++++++++

Meditation 23

 I wrote the above poem one Tuesday morning immediately after my time of meditation, when it suddenly struck me during prayer that this was not primarily about me giving myself to God, but God giving His/Herself to me. I try to tune in to God at meditation, and in each moment of the day, but the awareness hit me that God is continually tuned in to me. God does not have to make a conscious effort to be present to me, God just is – always has been, always will be. I don’t know about you, but I find that mind blowing.

There is a big difference between knowing that God is tuned into me, has surrendered His/Her Divine Presence to me, than the thought that God is watching me. I was brought up with the image that God was constantly watching me, checking if I was doing what a good boy was supposed to do. There was very little joy in the thought that God was watching me, I was constantly afraid of what God was thinking. But now I have come to experience that God is not watching me, like a detached judge weighing up my pros and cons; but has become a part of me, an intimate loving presence that gives me value and worth.

In meditation we may struggle to be present to God, but God is fine with that because God is always present to us; and it is because of that we can relax and allow prayer to take its course and slowly but surely draw us in. All we have to do is keep placing ourselves in its flow.