In So Many Words
“And we are put on this earth a little space that we might learn to bear the beams of love.” – William Blake
As human beings we are irradiated and nourished by love. We long for the exposure to the “beams of love” yet we fear what they might demand of us when we come within their transforming power. Deep within the heart of each of us is a yearning and a need for the God of love.
St. Augustine expressed this very well when he wrote, “You have made us for yourself O God and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” So, this longing for the “beams of love” continually surface within us. The deepest prayer at its core is a perpetual surrender to the God of love.
God is existence itself, and He makes all things exist. Every creature and every created thing are a “flaming up” of God. This is a Christian world view - a continuous ongoing process which is perceived by us as the forward movement of everything in time. Through this “flaming up” of God we co-create with Him through love which comes from within us and cooperates with His plan.
Deep within the heart of each of us is a yearning and a need for the God of love.
It is impossible to love God without loving others too, as self-seeking ends in the reduction of self. When we pray, we make room in our hearts for God and for others. God’s Word is the truth and love of God communicated into our human condition. So, the Word of God must be engraved in our hearts which involves meditating and ruminating on it and as the Psalmist says, “murmuring it day and night.”
The Spirit breathes where It wills and invigorates and encourages us to respond to the needs of others. Prayer is a personal stance towards life rather than an activity. The place where God dwells in us is also the place of prayer. This prayer is our heart’s treasure. St. Benedict in his Rule insists on the importance of a humble listening attitude. He wrote “Listen carefully to the Master’s instructions and attend to them with the ear of your heart. Welcome it and put it into practice.”
The essence of Christian prayer is the experience of coming into full union with the energy that created the universe. That energy is love, and it is the wellspring that gives each of us the creative power to be the person we are called to be, rooted and grounded in love.
Sr. Abbie O’Sullivan is a Columban Sister who has worked in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Bosnia and Ireland as a teacher and a school Counsellor. She is now Congregational Archivist for the Columban Sisters in Magheramore, Ireland and Assistant Editor of the Irish Far East.