Monday, July 14, 2014

seeds of blessing in the middle of the night



flying into OKC
[June 2014]
My good friend Pat Stankus used to say that at the end of the day, the one question I must answer in my spiritual journey is this: “am I doing my part?”

Whether we call it surrender, an open heart, a willing spirit, detachment… ultimately, that’s what I’m responsible for, showing up to prayer and saying, my Lord and my God... here I am. 

The rest is up to God. And as I continue to be reminded, I do mean all of it. Whether I will continue to grow. Be able to forgive. Become whole. Grow in holiness. See with new eyes. Understand. Accept. Become. Let go. Even how “well” I can pray. Letting go of resentment. Or become worthy of the promises of Jesus the Christ.

Something I read today (with a few ‘first person’ adaptations) by Alfred Delp, S.J., a heroic German priest who was imprisoned and martyred by the Nazis in a death camp in 1945:

[T]he quiet angels of annunciation, who speak their message of blessing into the distress and scatter their seeds of the blessing that will begin to grow in the middle of the night.  These are not the loud angels of public jubilation and fulfillment, these angels of Advent.  Silently and unnoticed, they come into private rooms and appear before our hearts as they did long go. Silently they bring the questions of God and proclaim to us the miracles of God, with whom nothing is impossible…

[If I]…no longer perceive the quiet footsteps of the announcing angels, if the angels murmured word does not simultaneously shame [me] to the depths and lift up [my] soul—then it is over for us. Then we are living wasted time, and we are dead, long before they do anything to us.

(Ignatius Press)

I had to read that last paragraph several times, and am still sitting with it. Perhaps it’s because right now life feels so very fragile and short, and I desperately don’t want to live in “wasted time,” but I find his words provoking, yes, and challenging, but also weirdly reassuring.

As Father Delp goes on to say, “To believe in the golden seeds of God that the angels have scattered and continue to offer an open heart are the first things we must do with our lives.”

Show up! The rest is up to God.