6/27/12

Praying 10 minutes today: WEDNESDAY 6/27


Find a quiet time and place to pray... take a few deep breaths...
be still... and know that God is near...


A word to reflect on:   
To you I raise my eyes,
   to you enthroned in heaven.
Yes, like the eyes of a servant
   on the hand of his master,
so are my eyes on the Lord our God...
- Psalm 123




Sitting here with you in the quiet, Lord,
   I know you are by my side, that you are near,
      but sometimes, it's not easy to raise my eyes to you,
         to look you into your face...

Sometimes it's something I've done or failed to do
   that keeps me from looking you in the eye. 
I easily forget that you look upon me, always, 
   with eyes of mercy - especially in times
      when I need your forgiveness and pardon.
Sometimes I lower my eyes to avoid your gaze
   just when I'm most in need of your merciful glance...

There are times, too, when I don't look up
   because I feel so small before you:
      insignificant and of no account,
         unworthy of your notice.
And just then is when I need to remember your word,
   that you keep me as the apple of your eye!

How you see me, Lord, and how I see myself
   are so often so different.
Are you and I looking at the same person?
You see me as your own, your child, your beloved,
   while I look at myself as, well,
      so much less than that...

You see my faults and failings, too,
   but first you see in me the work of your hand,
      what you love.
You look upon me 
   and see someone in whom you delight
while all I see are my sins and imperfections.
I focus on my failures,
   on the times my eye has left my master's hand
and you, Lord, are the Master of my soul...
      
Cataracts of self-doubt cloud my vision
   and I fail to see what you see in me so clearly:
      the image of the One in whose image I was made...

Sometimes, Lord, I'm unable to lift my head
   to raise my eyes to your face
      because I've sunk so deep in my own pain and sadness,
         my chin bent low on my chest.
I fail to look up because I fear what I might see
   or fear there may be no one there to see...

But apart from your gaze, Lord - I'm nothing.
That you hold me in your eyes is life to me!
Apart from the warmth of your glance 
   I would perish in the lonely cold...

Whatever keeps my head bent low,
   reach with your gentle hand beneath my chin
      and lift my head from off my chest...  
Open my eyes
      that I might see and know the warmth
         of how your eyes look for mine...

Lord, let your face shine upon me!

Raise me up, Lord, from whatever keeps me down.
I want to raise my eyes to you
   to keep my vision trained on you
      and on your hand, leading and guiding me
         to serve you, the Master of my heart... 

Even now, Lord, as I sit with you in prayer,
   lift my eyes to your eyes, my heart to your heart
and let your face shine upon me
   as when I lift my face to the summer sun
      and its light warms my cheek...

Even now, Lord, in the quiet of this time and place, 
   let me see the gift of your mercy smiling on me
and help me know, help me believe that you see in me
   your own, your child, your beloved...

Let me see in myself what you see, Lord,
   and keep me as the apple of your eye...

To ponder and pray over...
What keeps me from raising my eyes to the face of God?
Do I believe that God sees his beloved in me?
What will I ask of the Lord today?
From this prayer time, what word or phrase will I keep with me
   to carry through the rest of my day?
(After you spend some time with these questions,
   pray the reflection above one more time...)


Here are some tips for praying 10 minutes a day.  If you find these daily prayer reminders helpful, please let me know - and share them with others.  You'll find an archive of these daily posts here.

 
 
   
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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I know that I personally really struggle with this idea that God can possibly love me as I am... it sounds like having a relationship like the one that you described with God would be incredible, amazing and life giving but I don't even know how that's possible since God is so far away.

Austin Fleming said...

Anonymous: If I struggle with believing that God loves me as I am, I can easily begin to think God's far away: why would God want to be close to someone as unlovable as me? God might be unhappy with some things about me but God loves the person I am, the person God made me to be. Parents are like this, too: they love their children unconditionally even if some of what they do doesn't please mom and dad.

The God who's in my prayers here is not far away from anyone. But if I'm far away from myself and see only my faults and failings, it will be difficult for me to know that God is near, that God loves me.

Let me suggest you seek out a spiritual director, perhaps someone on your local parish staff, to meet with and talk through what you're saying here.

The Lord is by your side, with love,
24/7 - I hope you'll turn and see and meet him - and know his love.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what you mean by "But if I'm far away from myself..." how can you be far away from yourself if you are yourself?

I tried the whole going to a church and talking to a priest thing recently but it didn't go so well, I felt like I was being judged and looked down upon because I wonder about these sorts of things. To be honest I'm envious of you and anyone else who has a good relationship with God I just struggle to understand how anyone can really love me let alone God.

I think that I believe that God exists and I know that hundreds of people have died throughout history for their belief in God I guess I just struggle to know how God is supposed to fit into my life or who God is for me.

I find myself asking "God where on earth are you?" over and over again but I never seem to find an answer and I feel like I'm missing a piece of the puzzle. Maybe its just me, maybe its that everyone but me can come to know God, maybe I'm just not holy enough to know God.

Austin Fleming said...

Certainly you are not an exception to God's love for everyone - you are indeed included in God's embrace! It's not a process of being or getting to be holy enough to know God, it's a process of becoming holy through coming to know God in our lives.

I'm sorry your experience with speaking to a priest wasn't helpful - I'd encourage you to find someone else to talk to - my experience tells me that these aren't questions that are easily resolved on one's own - talking to someone else is important.

If you're struggling to understand how anyone could love you, then it's not surprising that you find it difficult to accept that God loves you - that's a pattern of personal experience that hundreds of thousands/millions experience - you are not alone in this.

Be assured of my prayerful support and I hope you'll reach out to someone else nearby to find someone to talk about these concerns.