The Prayer of the Heart


As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God.
~ Psalm 42, 2


 

Beside quiet waters art by yong sung kim

 

While taking a walk through nature, listening to a beautiful music that “sends one into raptures” or fervently praying, who has not suddenly experienced a strange and overwhelming sense of freedom, a delightful feeling of being liberated from the constraints and limitations of daily life? At that instant, we are released from the grip of time and space, and overcome with a joy and inner peace that nothing could shatter. In those privileged moments, we love everybody, we feel unified, reconciled with ourselves, with others, with the whole universe. It is “the state of grace”, which happens unexpectedly, but which, unfortunately, we cannot recreate at will…

The Springs of Life

It is as if we had come upon a spring, ready to give us water in abundance, only to see it disappear again, shrouded in mystery… Once we have had a glimpse of that other world, we can never forget it and we will always try to find it again.

We will continue to yearn for those blessed states when our soul brushed against eternity, when we sensed the existence of another dimension of our being: immutable, peaceful, unchanging in the midst of fluctuating events. It is the deep, calm waters of a lake that reflect a wild duck in rapid flight without a single ripple on the surface. It is the discovery of “something indefinable” that suddenly and completely takes hold of us. Is not this “little corner of paradise” a reflection of that untarnished happiness enjoyed by our parents in the garden of Eden of our beginnings?

How can we find that center of our being where springs the water of life, where our thirst for happiness and fulfillment can be wholly quenched? How can we reach that secret place whose existence all traditions in the world have sensed and that so many men and women have “realized” in union with God?

Toward the Bliss of the Kingdom

To enter the Kingdom, it is not enough to think about it, just as we cannot quench our thirst merely by thinking of a cup of tea. If our intellect enables us to understand many things, it cannot alone fill the gap between us and these realities. It leaves us standing on the shore, trying to measure the surging waves, yet not allowing us to dive in and splash about in the sea spray.

And so, in his infinite love for us, the Lord does not content himself with our good thoughts for him; he wants us closer and wishes us to unite with his divine Person, just as a fiancé will not be satisfied merely to correspond with his beloved, but longs to marry her and live with her.

The love God has for us is a burning fire, and we are invited to warm ourselves up by its flame; it is the Song of Songs, in which the Lover kisses his bride on the lips: such is the intimate embrace to which God summons us, as of now, on this earth!

The pleasures of this world are but a pale reflection of the profusion of joys that God wishes to share with us; a flash in the pan, they fade away as soon as our passions are assuaged, leaving us frustrated and unfulfilled. Only permanent happiness can satisfy completely our yearning for infinity and eternity, but such happiness is not of this earth, but belongs to the Kingdom of Heaven.

If our mind cannot lead us to it, we must use another instrument, better suited to our quest of unity with God: our heart… Not only the heart that loves or rejects, the seat of feelings and emotions, but the very center of our being, that innermost “place” within ourselves where the divine Presence is revealed. And the path to ever deepening interiority is the prayer of the heart.

Knock and the Door Shall Be Opened

The word prayer is used in many different senses. For some, it is the reading of the Holy Scriptures or a meditation on their meaning; for others, it is communing with oneself… These exercises of Christian life certainly complement each other toward achieving union with God. But what we call the prayer of the heart is a form of contemplation.

In the secret garden of the heart, we no longer pray, we become prayer: the prayer of the heart is “pure prayer”. But we must not think of it as a difficult exercise, only meant for contemplatives. It is surely more difficult to meditate on the Word of God than to contemplate his face. The infant who cannot yet speak gazes at his mother, drinking her presence in, and she delights in returning that loving look that says so much more than mere words!

Likewise, the prayer of the heart is a contemplation of God’s Presence, a moment, heart to heart, when we surrender in the divine sight, in the Lord’s tender presence, just as when he was in Galilea with his disciples: how sweet it was to rest beside Him!

It is as when two lovers gaze into each other’s eyes: all talking ceases, activity is reduced to the simplicity of silent mutual contemplation where words have no place.

But why do we need a method to achieve this? Is it not sufficient to let ourselves be carried by the flow of grace itself? Can we actually learn something in a domain where God is the only captain on board? Why not let ourselves drift alone, rocked by the waves?

It is right that we should contribute to our relationship with the Lord; if indeed he does not impose himself upon us, he always offers his love and secretly calls us: I stand at your door and I knock (Rv 3, 20); Jesus, who is gentle and of humble heart, stands by, ready to receive those who seek him and who knock at the Kingdom’s door: Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened (Lk 11, 10).

~ By Daniel Maurin

Jesus grace art by yong sung kim

Grace, art by Yong Sung Kim

 

 

 

 

Tears in The Garden

Jesus in the Garden artist unknown

Christ in The Garden, by unknown artist

My Beloved,
May I console Your heart?
Sadness and weariness are so palpable in this encounter.
Is it necessary that You go through all those moments of suffering and anguish for me?
The anguish of Your precious heart, O Lord, breaks me.
It’s happening all over again…

You are only loving and giving.
How can this be happening?
I don’t want to fall asleep my Jesus.
I want to stay awake, to console Your precious heart, like the angel from heaven did in those dark days.

Would You allow me to be in Your presence now, Lord?
I know You need to pray to your Father.
For his strength and courage will be upon You.
But Lord, I pray, allow me to remain with You now. In silence and in communion.
Your tears are overflowing and my garden is wet from those precious tears…
Your tears are cleansing and healing everything.

O Beloved Jesus,
Thank You for loving me with such infinite and unconditional love.
I can’t express in words how much gratitude I feel for You saving me.

Beloved, let us pray together.
Let us stay in this silent union of love and trust,
That all is in the Father’s heart.

I stay awake.
Let us be together.
Let us pray together, my Beloved.


~ My Personal Reflection

 

 

 

 

In Stillness You Receive New Eyes

 

Mark 6 31 #2

When Jesus tells the apostles: “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while” (Mk 6:31), it is in a way a new call they receive. Not a call to work in the vineyard of the Lord, but a call to rest and a time to recover.

Jesus aims those words even at you. You need space to breathe, times of stillness to be alone with him. He calls you every day to a quiet period of prayer, every week to a day of rest that is also his day, and from time to time to a longer period of retreat. You withdraw from activities not only to gain new strength but also to see your life with new eyes.

Being still with God gives you a chance to ask the essential questions all over again: What is the meaning of my life? Am I walking next to the road God wants to lead me on? Am I walking in the wrong direction?

In the stillness, you gain some distance to what could otherwise swallow you. It becomes easier to see everything in its right perspective. You can see the truth more clearly and see through your illusions. There is a basic insight which can only mature in this stillness before God. If you regularly follow Jesus into solitude and rest, then this basic insight will carry you through all of life’s ups and downs.

~ A Reflection by Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

As I Lay Me Down to Sleep

This is a little adaptation of the beautiful song by Sophie B. Hawkins. Every time I listen to it, it makes me think of My Beloved….Jesus I love you!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…

 

Jesus you are mine art by Yongsung Kim

You are mine, art by Yong-Sung Kim

 

It felt like spring time on this February morning
In a courtyard birds were singing Your praise
I’m still recalling things You said to make me feel alright
I carried them with me today
Now

As I lay me down to sleep
This I pray
That You will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper your Name into the sky
And I will wake up happy

I wonder why I feel so high
Though I am not above the sorrow
Heavy hearted
Till You call my name
And it sounds like church bells
Or the whistle of a train
On a summer evening
I’ll run to meet You
Barefoot, barely breathing

As I lay me down to sleep 
This I pray
That You will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper Your name into the sky 
And I will wake up happy

Oh, Beloved
As I lay me down to sleep
This I pray
That You will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper Your name into the sky 
And I will wake up happy

It’s not too near for me
Like a flower I need the rain
Though it’s not clear to me
Every season has it’s change
And I will see You
When the sun comes out again

As I lay me down to sleep 
This I pray
That You will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper Your name into the sky 
And I will wake up happy

I wonder why 

when the sun comes out again 
when the sun comes out again…

I will wake up happy 

This I pray

 

To Be Everyone

purple heart leaf

Purple Heart (photo source unknown)

What am I? And who am I? One who dies a thousand deaths yet stays alive. One who hangs upon a cross not made of wood, but of days and nights that merge and dance their endless dance of pain and of delight.

One who walks shrouded in silence, yet speaks for those who cannot speak, in an endless sea of words that storms, pleads and batters away at hearts of stone—which send my words right back to me: fiery wounding darts of painful ecstasy.

One who is torn apart by the pain of all those who hunger and who thirst, whose shelter is dusty tropic streets, or snowy desert wastes.

I am the millions who seek him, and yet I have found him. How can that be? Why must I live as I were all others? It seems to me that I am torn apart, and that each piece of me is someone else in search of him whom I possess. I must go and walk upon my God, for he is the Way—which means I walk upon Love itself.

But he who walks that way stands still, for how can one walk on feet that are nailed and hands made fast to beam and cross?

The mystery is great. I walk and yet am crucified. I am silent yet I shout. I am filled yet hungry, sheltered yet shelterless, warm yet cold, cold yet hot.

What am I? Who am I?

I am everyone, because I love him: my Lord. I am everyone whom he loves. This is my agony. This is my ecstasy. This is who and what I am.

To be everyone for love of him is to participate in the fullness of his passion.

He said: “I am the Way.” I know this is true because I have walked that Way a thousand yesterdays and walk it still today. 

~ A Meditation by Catherine de Hueck Doherty

The Mountains of the Lord

Head of Christ, art by Leonardo da Vinci 1495

‘Head of Christ’ , art by Leonardo Da Vinci 1495

Innocence never lost and innocence restored—
these two went up the mountains of the Lord.
And I addressed them, glowing and intense:
under the auspices of innocence
what amid holy places did you see?
And the untarnished spirit answered me:

I saw a city gleaming on a hill,
and one triumphant road divined its site.
I saw a fire no storm could ever still,
feeding upon the branches of delight.

I heard a Harp pluck its own serenade;
I drank the Living Water from cool streams.
I breathed the Wind that blows far down earth’s shade
The scent of petals from eternal dreams.

Tables were spread on greensward and in grove
with Bread the angels coveted afar.
I walked beneath the shadow of a Dove
who made a marriage with a Morningstar.

Then I went upward where the summits glistened,
lighted by love, the unconsuming flame.
I heard a Voice, and when I stopped and listened
it was the Bridegroom’s voice and called my name.

I questioned innocence renewed by grace:
What did you see on hills beatified?
What voices heard you in the holy place?
With words of light the penitent replied:

Under the night’s impenetrable cover
wherein I walked beset by many fears,
I saw the radiant face of Christ the Lover,
and it was wet with tears.

 

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D. (1905-1988)

 

 

 

 

 

Your Heart…The Mirror of God

Heart by Janice VanCronkhite

Heart, art by Janice Van Cronkhite

Seeing God does not necessarily have to do with visions or extravagant gifts of grace. It can be a simple and quiet consciousness of God’s presence and reality. It can be an unshakable confidence in him who gives you a solid grounding.
To see God can also be an insight and conviction that your whole life rests in the hands of God, and everything that happens is a message from him. Or it can be a deep insight into the human longing for an infinite love which only God can fill.
The pure heart can see God already in this life, since he reigns in our midst. God wants to be mirrored in your heart. But if the mirror is stained and soiled, it can’t reflect God’s image. And so it is not God’s fault if you don’t see him.
If you want to see and experience God, you must let your heart become what it was meant to be from the beginning: a clear and pure mirror for the one who is love and who loves all that is.
To let your heart recover its originality, you must first discover and admit that you are an abyss crying out for God’s infinity, and then you must empty your heart of all the surrogates with which you have tried to fill it.

~ A Meditation by Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

A Dark Night In My Garden

The night garden by Emily Winfield Martin

The Night Garden, art by Emily Winfield Martin


My Beloved is night time in my garden.

I feel so weary. I come here to be with You. To be in your presence.
I need to rest in your precious heart, a place where I find all consolation and peace.
I need to be wrapped around your arms and feel whole once again. Oh Blessed Jesus,
thank You for coming to be with me in my garden at night.

Beloved, at times the path gets so foggy and it seems uncertain where I’m stepping.
It is so dark sometimes, that I can hardly see. I guess the way towards light and truth is filled with some dark spots, and that is why I need to be close to You in those moments.

Oh my Beloved friend and teacher, at times I feel tired and hopeless in this narrow path towards holiness. It is an arduous road till I caught a glimpse of You along the way and everything transforms and becomes new and alive in me. Your peace fills me and brings me trust and consolation.

Lord, why do I feel so discourage if I know that You are my faithful companion along the way? Why is so difficult Blessed Lord? This path is difficult but knowing that I’m walking by your side, all fog and confusion is dispelled.

Oh my Blessed Jesus, giver of life and love, allow me to be as close as I can to You.
When darkness sets in, your light is a refreshing balm of peace and assurance that all is well and will be well. Lord, I know this is part of growing into You. All those growing pains are making me whole. I can go on in this journey only if You meet me here and instruct me and encourage me on the way.

Sweet Jesus, strengthen my mind, body and soul to continue in my journey towards wholeness and inner freedom, a journey that You invited me to trod next to You long time ago.

My Beloved, you transform my night into day. My inner noise into quiet calm. You bring hope and light into any difficult moment. Your presence is all healing. Your gentleness is all I need. Divine friend and lover of my soul, stay with me, I pray. 

May your light and inspiration be always within me. May your love and peace filled me
day by day, night by night.

My Rabonni, my God and my all. Thank You for coming to our meeting place,
is night but soon will be day.

~ My Personal Reflection 

 

 

Simplicity Serves Best

 

Nativity ~ By unknown artist

Nativity ~ By unknown artist

To a Christian it is very simple to come into contact with God. God is not just the goal at the end of a long and hard journey. In Jesus Christ, God is the way itself. As soon as we take the first stumbling steps on this way, we are together with God. 
No demanding exercises in concentrating are needed, no heroic asceticism. The only thing needed is to genuinely love Jesus. Love entrusts itself to the beloved, opens itself to him or her, trusts him or her. If such a genuine love of Jesus fills our hearts, then everything else will follow.
Jesus is Immanuel: God with us. We don’t need a telescope to scout for God. God is near; he is our traveling companion. We need only let him take us by the hand. Since God has shown himself on the earth and has pitched his tent among us, he is “grab-able” to all.
It is not through profound speculation that we grow in our relationship with God, but through the unsophisticated faith of the heart, and the trust in what transcends human understanding. When we bow before the mystery that has come so close to us in Jesus, then he reveals himself most clearly. 

 

~ A Christmas meditation by Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

Christmas Within

a child stand by Jesus crib

A manger filled with Love ~ Art by unknown artist

The mystery of Christmas is not a reality outside of you. It is realized only if it becomes a reality within you.
Mary and Joseph sought shelter. And the King of Kings  was satisfied with a poor stable and manger meant for cattle. Is there a shelter for him within you—he doesn’t ask for much—or are you so preoccupied with your own that there is no room for him?
If you let Jesus be born in you, you become a messenger of love. Then you will no longer do anything just for your own sake. Everything will be inspired by Love. If you continually make a home for him in your heart, he will continually become visible in and through you. As he is ceaselessly born of the Father, he will ceaselessly be born in you.
Do not think that you must have something big and magnificent to offer him. It is his presence that makes your poverty shine with divine light. He is most comfortable in the simple and unassuming, if only the door is opened to him.

~ A Christmas meditation by Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.