Friday, January 10, 2014

back to the basics: I say the name of Jesus

If you think the name ‘Jesus’ continually, it purges your sin and kindles your heart; it clarifies your soul, it removes anger and does away with slowness. It wounds in love and fulfills charity. It chases the devil and puts out dread. It opens heaven, and makes you a contemplative. It puts all vices and phantoms out from the lover”
~Richard Rolle [as quoted in Magnificat, 
January 3, 2013]

“On the name of Jesus: “ This name is powerful, because it brings down our enemies, restores our strength, and renews our mind. It is grace-filled, because in it is contained the foundation of faith, the ground of hope, and the fulfillment of holiness. It is joyous, because it is gladness to the heart, music to the ear, honey to the tongue, and splendor to the mind. It is delightful, because it nourishes when it is recalled, soothes when it is uttered, anoints when it is invoked, refreshes when it is written, and instructs when it is read. It is a truly glorious name, became it gives sight to the blind, makes the lame walk, brings hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, and life to the dead. O blest name endowed with such powers! 
Devout soul, whether you are writing, reading, or teaching or whatever you are doing—may nothing have taste for you, nothing please you, apart from Jesus. To the little Infant begotten in you spiritually, give the name Jesus, which means: Savior, amidst the miseries of this life. May he save you from the vanities of the world which entice you, from the deceits of the devil which surround you, and from the weakness of the flesh which torments you.”

~Saint Bonaventure, from Bonaventure, Mystic of God’s Word

My new year is off to a startling start. In the midst of hustling busy, of keeping weird hours helping with new grandbaby--and living with the awareness of a looming deadline for my book project, I feel an intense and calming urge to simplify, slow down, and feel the sun shine.

Both in my dedicated prayer time and in my desire to be deliberate in day-to-day actions and thoughts, I hear one word to focus on: Jesus.

Remember k.i.s.s.? Yes, keep it simple stupid. Or if you find that too offensive, then keep it simple, you silly nilly child of God!

So, here's what I 've been doing. When my centering prayer fills up with images, lists of to-do's, and amazing, inspired words that I must write down, right there and there... I say the name of Jesus.

When I wake up in the middle of the night, aware that something startled my heart and/or my spirit, I say the name of Jesus.

When I pray for my children and their needs, my grandchildren, my marriage, my husband, my friends, I say the name of Jesus.

When my body has difficulty breathing and anxiousness threatens to take over, I say the name of Jesus.

When my body is aching and it's cloudy outside and winter blahs loom over my head like Pig-Pen's cloud of dirt, I say the name of Jesus.

As I drive and wonder what in God's name possessed that driver to be so careless, I say the name of Jesus.

When I wonder how my book project will ever come together if I am taking care of so many family needs, I say the name of Jesus.

When anger, disappointment, inadequacy, fear, hopelessness infest my heart, my mind, and my prayer, I say the name of Jesus.

sunset from my front door
"We treat God with irreverence by banishing Him from our thoughts, not be referring to His will on slight occasions. His is not the finite authority or intelligence which cannot be troubled by small things. There is nothing so small but that we may honour God by asking His guidance of it, or insult Him by taking it into our own hands"...

[as quoted in Heather King’s “Shirt of Flame,” 
January 5, 2013