Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Week One - Day One

At my job, it is often crucial to block out time when possible and go and pray. Since I was able to go on retreat last year I fell in love with the basics of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. We weren't able to go deeply into them but there was always something that drew my heart closer to them.

When I hear the word wander, I think of someone going off at their own pace, schedule and time, to get away from what is happening in their daily life. I can do that in most things, but when it comes to prayer, a time I feel like my mind wanders and I can't stay where I want to be. I feel often "trapped" by rote prayers because I know they won't let my mind wander to trivial things. Then I catch myself and remember what St. Augustine said, "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." I remind myself that maybe my "wandering" is a call to pray more.

Going back to my desire of the Spiritual Exercises, I found an "Ignatian Prayer Adventure" from the people at Ignatius Press. I have done their 3 Minute Retreats in the past and also have been a fan of their printed materials as well. I thought why not give it a shot? So I am.

On Week One - Day One, I was given Isaiah 43: 1-7 to prayerfully read with two questions. They are, "Who is God for me?" and "How does God see me?" Through my prayer I couldn't help but think, "It's day one and already I'm going to be crying." The truth behind this is that I have never had a positive self image of my own worth.

Answering the first question was easy, I know that I am a small piece in the grandness of this world. God is my provider, my caretaker, my confidant and I hope he's my friend. I also remember St. Therese of Lisieux recalling that we are to be as children, lifting our arms up to be carried by him. I don't know why that works, but ask my nephews, they reach up and auntie will pick them up.

The second question was a lot harder for me to pinpoint in words. As I'm writing this I am still trying to find the right words to impart the correct meaning. As with any form of Lectio Divina, I find myself drawn to a passage. "Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life." Isaiah 43:4

Remember when I said I have a low perception of my self worth? When I read this I cannot help but feel that I am loved, I am valued and treasured. How can I not when the largest ransom he paid was his own son? I lose track of that when I cannot see myself through his eyes, when I lose myself in the world's perception. I'm sitting down in the midst of a snowstorm (thank you Minnesota) with really no where to go and the world is still able to reach me, and I know I would rather listen to that than the whispers of our loving God.

As I'm writing this my eyes glanced over another section of my open Bible.
I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Accuse me, let us go to trial; set forth your case, so that you may be proved right. Your first ancestor sinned, and your interpreters transgressed against me. Isaiah 43: 25-27
God didn't have to blot out my sins and when I take him to trial he chooses to let me be guilty and forgiven because he pays the price. Above all, I know I am truly loved.

With the snow blowing with the ferocity of the wind off the plains and the furnace blasting to keep me warm, I know here I can tune out the world and listen attentively if I stop and take stock of where I have wandered.