Prayer is opening into Love

Prayer is opening into Love; into that radiant and centerless Love surpassing our understanding and enfolding all of life.

Don't talk and don't run

An inner city priest went to the home of a poor old lady in the parish. She was dying. When the priest came to her side, she said, "Don't talk and don't run." She seemed to want to die fully appreciative of her life in God, which was too deep for any consoling words at that point. And she wanted to die appreciative of the human community that incarnates God's presence on this plane of existence, which was too deep for words but not for silent, prayerful human presence. That is contemplative dying.

...We can approach all of the myriad little ego deaths, all the ways we don't get what we want (as opposed to what we need) in our lives, in the same way as that woman faced physical death... We need to leave room for the silence that can free the wonder, as well as for words.

Appreciation is a natural gift

Appreciation is a natural gift. It is meant to lead us to God ... Appreciation naturally appears the moment our self-concern is relinquished. It cannot be possessed and it cannot be earned; it simply IS, a free gift, available everywhere. Life is known then more as art than task. The greatest task becomes our work to help others realize such wonder. The wonder is so great that we are in danger of overfascination. We easily become focused on the gifts as an end in themselves; they do not always lead us to the Giver. We subtly become attached to the felt beauty and miss not only the initial invitation to thanksgiving, but the yet deeper invitation: to release ourselves to God as we are enabled and let rise that full quality of awareness that is beyond felt beauty, beyond self-reflective appreciation.

Quiet, contemplative prayer happens

Quiet, contemplative prayer happens when we are still and open ourselves to the Spirit working secretly in us, when we heed the psalmist's plea: "be still and know that I am God." These are times when we trustingly sink into God's formless hands for cleansing, illumination, and communion. Sometimes spontaneous sounds and words come through us in such prayer, but more often we are in a state of quiet appreciation, simply hollowed out for God. At the gifted depth of this kind of prayer we pass beyond an image of God and beyond any image of self. We are left in a mutual raw presence. Here we realize that God and ourselves quite literally are more than we can imagine.