Thursday, January 31, 2019

the posture of prayer

St. Cecilia Catholic Church, Houston

"The Prayer," Will Rogers World Airport, Oklahoma City

Years ago, during what in retrospect was the worse years of our marriage – a time when Michael and I didn’t like each other very much, we managed to do ONE thing right.

I don’t know which one of us suggested it, or where the idea came from, but we began the practice of getting on our knees, holding hands, and reciting the Memorare together.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided.
Inspirited by this confidence, I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my mother. To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me.

The words of the prayer truly expressed our struggle as a couple to hang on to hope for a future together, while offering up our reluctant surrender. Remember. Never. Unaided. Implored. Confidence. I fly to you. Hear and answer me.

And it put our dire needs in the hands of She who could bring our petty petitions to Jesus, and even use her motherly influence on our behalf!

No matter what had transpired that week, that day, or even that evening, every night we ended the day by getting on our knees next to our bed. Perhaps we were subconsciously recalling that child-part of our Spirit who once-upon-a-time learned to pray that way?

Trust me. This wasn’t easy. But one of the lessons I learned from that experience is that posture is important, especially in prayer.

Getting on my knees. Bowing my head. Holding hands. Opening up my hands.  Each of these became an intrinsic part of my prayer life, and of our praying.

A few years ago, while on retreat at Sacred Heart of Jesus Retreat Center in Los Angeles, I learned one more prayer posture that has become fundamental for me, a daily practice.

Every night, the Carmelite nuns and postulants end their prayers by standing before the Blessed Sacrament, opening their arms wide open, and reciting three times the words,

O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I put my trust in Thee.”

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