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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Spirituality: Beginning Prayer

Present your genuine authentic self to God
Invitation from God
We simply respond to this invitation.
You have simply been invited. Simply relax now.

What is going on here?
You are developing your relationship with God
And we need to do things with God as we would a friend
What do we do when we make new friends?
We spend time together, call them on the phone, share a meal,
Reveal some parts of our life and listen as the other reveals to us.
There is excitement, intrigue, fascination and perhaps fear and insecurity.
What if the other doesn’t like me enough?
What is my history with relationships?
What are my joys and disappointments?
What is my spiritual history of relationship with God?

How do I pray?
Just show up. If you tell God you will come to the chapel to be with God at 9:30, show up.
Don’t stand God up. It is always nice to be courteous.
When you get there, don’t do that much.
As we have heard before, prayer is at God’s initiative.
This isn’t something we can control or achieve

Recall that you are in God’s presence.
Perhaps read Scripture to ground you and then you have to trust God.
Let God work in your imagination.
Let God be in your thoughts.
The difficult thing to do is to embrace those thoughts.
Trust that God wants you to consider certain things.
They may be the stuff of your dreams, or fears, or troubling behaviors, or bad relationship. It could be a call to flourish in new ways. It could be to give you peace and comfort.
Maybe God just wants you to be still in God’s presence.

Crunch and munch – John’s Gospel
Enter fully into your experience of God
When you come to the Eucharist – chew and drink
When you come to prayer – savor, search for the flavors, swirl it around, don’t analyze it, but notice and detect.
See in new ways – Discover
Senses – application
Composition of place
Notice that’s you might take for granted – the color of Jesus’ eyes, the quality of Mary’s voice, the attire of the disciples. Is it the 21st century or the 1st century?
Own the scriptures. Make it your own
Taste, see, touch, hear and smell Avoid making judgments.
Then notice the energy. What words or phrases charge your or bring you tension.
This is grist for the mill. This is the food of your prayers.
All the other stuff was done in preparation for you.
Conversation with God, with Christ, with Mary or any other person you have met in your imagination in SS.
Maybe a question you have has nothing to do with SS. Fine. Ask the question.
If Jesus wants you to ask another question, he can speak for himself.
He will eventually get you to the questions you want to ask.

If a good person is moving toward greater good, the evil spirit will be there to derail you.
Your soul is the battleground for the evil and Good spirits.
Our immediate reaction is to push away bad thoughts.
Maybe what we think is bad is God’s way of getting us to look at something painful.
I’d like to invite you to do the following:
Embrace the distraction
Pick it up, hold it, examine it, look at its power and then gently place it aside.
If you are to look at it more deeply, God will tell you that.
If you own the distraction, its power over you is broken
You can decide with God when it is good and right to talk about the distraction.
Listen for God’s voice; you will hear many others
Identify them if you can, but go back to God’s voice.

Lastly, enjoy your experience. Be yourself..
People come on retreat thinking they need to solve problems or overcome something that holds one down.
We come with objectives and agendas.
Let your objective be “finding delight with God.” Enjoy
Anthony de Mello had a quote “Behold God beholding you and smiling.”
Not bad, huh? Peace be with you on your retreat.

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