Just as the heart is the life giving pulse of our physical being, so prayer is the life giving pulse that gives meaning to our lives. It is by journeying inwardly, touching God in the depths of our hearts, that we touch the heart of life. We journey inward to seek the mystery of the God who created us and lives within us — the God “in whom we live, and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) The heart of prayer is the realization of God’s love for us; our response, our answer, to God’s love for us is our surrender into his life. When we surrender ourselves to God, we enter into the heart of life – life within us and life around us.
The journey of prayer is life-long; we become familiar with it only when we travel it regularly. Wednesday, Feb. 10 marked the beginning of Lent, a time which carries a special invitation to travel along the path of life. It is a time to meet and reflect on God our loving Father and Jesus our model of life. Entering more deeply into the center of our being where Jesus abides in love, we will hear his call to life.
Jesus calls us to the whole of life just as he embraced it in its entirety. He loved, laughed, hurt and died. He breathed in the beauty of life and he wept for the misuse of this beauty. Jesus was compassionate, gentle, merciful and forgiving. He showed pity on the multitudes, miraculously feeding them; compassionately restored dignity to the woman caught in adultery; and gently forgave the grief of Mary Magdalene. Life called out to Jesus and he responded with open hands and an open heart.
Each time we say yes to love, to life, to God’s way for us, we say yes to the gift of Jesus. With each yes, new life is evoked within us. To say yes will not always be easy. It will mean living each day to the fullest with an openness to ourselves and others. It will mean listening, waiting, simply being – bringing ourselves to each day in a spirit of gentleness, kindness, patience, love and forgiveness.
Let us joyfully enter into the spirit of Lent by listening for Jesus’ gentle call to follow him all the way, even though the road may be rough and we may have difficulty hearing his voice. Trust whole-heartedly for “I know well the plans I have for you says the Lord…a future full of hope…when you seek me with all your heart; I will let you find me.” (Jer. 29:11-14) Let us draw near to him, let him touch us with a new awareness of his presence in the joys, pains, deaths and resurrection of our lives.