Open me, revisited

I don’t usually reflect back on a previous post, but I had to this time.

The prayer I composed and then posted Sunday morning has had so much impact on me since then. Praying it, I mean, has had a strange power. And some of the comments I received via text, email and here indicated the same for a few others. It’s a very simple prayer. And maybe that’s the secret.

But today in class I had another insight. I taught the seminarians about the epiclesis at Mass, the “calling out” to the Father asking that He send His Holy Spirit to come down on the gifts of bread and wine and transform them into the Body and Blood of the risen Christ. In other words, we ask the Father to give us everything we seek, i.e. the Christ-bearing Spirit.

Epiclesis, I told my students, is what a baby does when she’s hungry, what a man in pain does when he needs help, what a grieving woman does when she wants to wail aloud her pain in the arms of a compassionate loved one. It is an open-ended cry of the poor and needy, a cry of yearning and hope, a cry of trust, expectation and faith that there is an other who hears, loves, cares, and will respond.

God cannot resist faith (Luke 8:46).

I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up from the land of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth, and I will fill it. — Psalm 81:11

Friends of mine adopted a child from Romania many years ago, and the state representative they worked with said, “When this child was taken from the orphanage, they said there was an eerie silence. He and the other infants with him had all stopped crying. They’d given up hope of a response.”

In the brightest days or darkest moments, never cease to cry out, to open every crevice of your life to the tender Father who always, always hears our cry. And responds.

3 comments on “Open me, revisited

  1. Jennifer says:

    This prayer is definitely onto something…

    Bear with me as I try to explain…

    What came to mind was “Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (psalm 37.4) which in my sideways brain always means that not only will God give the object of the desire, but that by delighting in Him He will fashion/transform the desire itself,ie. make you desire rightly….

    I am also thinking about Dorothy Day’s “the solution to the long loneliness is love”

    So to explain, one desires an end to one’s loneliness, in delighting in God, so the psalm goes, that desire should be fulfilled, but how then? It’s not just simply that hey, I delight in God, I’m not lonely any more, and I’m certainly not elevating DD’s words to the level of scripture, but what does she learn from a life of delighting in God? That thre answer is love. But, wait, what is our normal tendency in response to loneliness? Isnt it sometimes hoarding attention, clinging to others, desperately seeking intimacy? It’s not our human nature to say, I’m lonely, let me lay down my life and put others first and concern myself with them, them, unless, you delight in the Lord, I.e. you’ve met Him; encountered His crazy unabashed love for You and everyone else; have clued in to the truth that He moves and exists in/through love, then the desire of having your loneliness quenched is transformed into quenching the loneliness of others, your very loneliness stirs a response of love.

    It’s a dynamic state of desiring things for the self being inverted into an invitation for God to fill that place by using you as a very instrument of answering that desire in others (and in that you recognize a fulfillment beyond what you could have imagined)

    I think what your prayer does here is expose various aspects of our human being/being human (e.g. Day’s loneliness) and invites Him into those cracks, asks to be ripped open, exposed, wounded (etymologically wound = vulnera therefore made vulnerable) so He can deify our humanity.

    You are praying into the lack, acknowledging His creative, love-mediated right way to bring holy resolution. That’s what I meant when I previously called the prayer right-minded.

    Does that make any sense? Ha!

    But truly, it is a remarkable, no doubt Spirit given prayer, but also borne of your decades of practice of delighting in Him. (Imho)

  2. Katy says:

    Tom, I was reminded of a stunning line from Sr. Bethany Madonna’s talk at FOCUS SLS2018. “There are places in our heart that have not yet cried out to the Father.” She mentions that one of her sisters (Sisters of Life) visited an orphanage in Romania also. She describes the same situation that you do here. What heartache. (it starts at minute 23 here

    This second post is just as timely as the first for me. And the permission granted here, with these posts (accompanied by so many others) and the responses to them is a gift.

    May those who read cry out to the Father…”I know that you always hear me…help my unbelief”

    • Jennifer says:

      That line from Sr. Bethany Madonna is right on…
      As I continued to ponder this prayer (which I can’t get out of my head) “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief” came to my mind too, so i’m delighted to see you mention it here…I think it, like Tom’s prayer ‘straddles’ — all of the petitions reflect our humanity and our human limits, where we come to the end of all human effort and only God’s grace can supply the rest.

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