Spirituality

Growing – Deepening

Recently, as I read over the parable of the seed, I found myself reflecting on the growth of a seed. In Jesus’ time, the farmer did not know how the seed grew! Coming from a farming background I do know. We understand. Later I was struck by the thought: yes, the farmer knows how the seed grows but, what if I apply this same understanding to my spiritual life – I have read, studied – I know how my relationship with God grows and deepens. But, am I opening my heart, am I listening in such a way that this can happen? What kind of a friend, lover am I to God? If you’re reading this, you are an open friend, a seeker.

Writing this I am aware that some of you have been willing, open-hearted participants in this friendship with God longer than others have – some even longer than I have. We know and value the importance of rote prayer. We experience lifting our hearts to God in nature, the prayer that comes to our hearts spontaneously when we see a doe with her fawn or experience beautiful sunset. We are familiar with Lectio Divina, praying slowly with Scripture. This prayer approach often helps open hearts to God. I find that when I have time to pray the Divine Office reflectively like this, the Office can speak to me loudly!

Poetry, Music, Art, Journaling, Movement of the Body are forms of prayer we might not think of as prayer forms. During a recent retreat, one of my directees described how prayerfully she greets the Lord some mornings through dance. I envied her for being able to pray in that way! I am far from being an artist! Recently, however, I was challenged with the “assignment” of creating a mandala, one expressing times when God came to me most meaningfully. After praying over this and doing the mandala, I discovered that thinking more about God coming in my life and less about my artistic inability, my prayer deepened and my art was “acceptable!”

In all prayer we hope to touch our God within. As you know in meditation, we search for and find God by using our imaginations – through Scripture, especially the Gospels. After many years of meditation, I realized that through this prayer form I had slowly developed a close, personal relationship with Jesus.

As you know, these are only some forms prayer can take; I will continue with others next month. As someone recently said to me: We are always moving one way or another, forward or backward. The challenge is to move forward two steps to each backward step!

Recently I was reading about the Magi. Their journey did not end when they found Jesus. Before they died, they had many miles to go and paths to cross. The same is true with you and with me. Finding Jesus sets us on our way, but the way can be difficult. Let us pray together for the courage and joy to continue our journey – no matter where it leads or the difficulties we encounter!

Questions? Please contact Judy at: Judy Diedrich: [email protected]