The Nearness of God and Beyond
Mary Jo Loebig, O.C.D.
It all started the day I received a book from a friend entitled The Joy of Full Surrender, by Jean-Pierre de Caussade. It took about three minutes for me to recall that I had read and prayed with the writings of this author when I was about eighteen years of age, studying to be a Sister.
The question that arose within me was wondering if my way of praying (actually God’s way of praying within me) has changed through the years. Rather quickly, I realized that this way has not changed, but hopefully has deepened. Worthy of note is the fact that Caussade felt that God has given each of us a teacher who speaks to us in our hearts. He hastens quickly to add that God also speaks to us in the circumstances of life.
The Fatigue of Evening
It seems like many of us are quite faithful in carrying out all the tasks of our day. During the day, we work with sincerity. As the fatigue of evening settles in, we do the best we can, reminding ourselves to say some kind of prayer before retiring. We decide what that prayer should be. Often, it does not occur to us that we could have been praying, here and there, throughout the day. At this point, God still desires to be with us as we attempt to pray, even though our evening prayer might be brief. It is the movement of the heart that counts.
By praying, we mean that we are aware that God is walking with us, and desires to be with us in the circumstances throughout the day. Caussade reminds us that everything is a possible channel of grace. This means that all our daily happenings can be a channel of grace, holding the love and concern that God has for us. In his discussion, our author further points out that the activity of God is with us in every step. To be aware of this is another way of praying. Furthermore, each of us has a unique way of praying, taught to us by the God, who so wants to be with us. If we take this approach, we will walk through our days with much less worry and anxiety.
There Are Many Ways
Gradually, I have been convinced that there are many ways God chooses to speak to us. One of the ways I have found helpful is that of quotable quotes. I am referring to examples like “Reach up to God as far as you can, and God will reach down the rest of the way to you.” (Anonymous) Caussade alludes to another insight I have never thought of before. Simply put, the quote is as follows: “The very thing I have been searching for everywhere is right beside me, trying to get my attention.” As the song goes, we never walk alone.
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