I was thinking in an email today, that I’ve been more lonely just recently, housesitting in a friends large home. When they are home and the kids are there, it’s full of life and goodness. When I am at home, in my little cottage, my loneliness doesn’t feel uncontrollable or out of sorts. But when I am alone, in their big home.. my loneliness is magnified in a strange way. As if the space housing my loneliness somehow allows it to echo more than it usually does. Maybe my love of my small house is partly because it deafens the silence of large, empty spaces.
Similarly, I have always loved the image of the prayer closet, because it seems that the smaller the room, the less distance your words have to travel to God. I am finding it hard to share communion with God at the moment, in large spaces.
Struggling To Pray Myself..
So typically – I’m running for shelter and companionship in the prayer room – first with the words of the others, the wise, the kindred, the dear… and with the flesh and blood love of dear friends.
“Prayer is in many ways the criterion of Christian life. Prayer requires that we stand in God’s presence with open hands, naked and vulnerable, proclaiming to ourselves and to others that without God we can do nothing. This is difficult in a climate where the predominant counsel is ‘Do your best and God will do the rest.’ When life is divided into ‘our best’ and ‘God’s rest,’ we have turned prayer into a last resort to be used only when all our own resources are depleted. Then even the Lord has become the victim of our impatience. Discipleship does not mean to use God when we can no longer function ourselves. On the contrary, it means to recognize that we can do nothing at all, but that God can do everything through us. As disciples, we find not some but all of our strength, hope, courage, and confidence in God. Therefore, prayer must be our first concern.”
–Henri Nouwen, Compassion
Snow can never emit flame.
Water can never issue fire.
A thorn bush can never produce a fig.
Just so, your heart can never be free
from oppressive thoughts, words, and actions
until it has purified itself internally.
Be eager to walk this path.
Watch your heart always.
Constantly say the prayer
“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.”
Set your soul in quietness.
The more the rain falls on the earth,
the softer it makes it;
similarly, Christ’s holy name
gladdens the earth of our heart
the more we call upon it.
— Hesychius of Sinai
“Fathers and teachers, I ponder, What is hell?
I maintain that hell is the suffering of being unable to love.”