This Week's Post I love the profound simplicity of this catacomb fresco. Here is the image as it appears in the woman’s memory: no pressing crowd to obscure her, surrounded by silence, the background washed away by insignificance, she reaches forth to touch and knows immediately that she’s healed. Here is a picture of the inside of prayer: intimacy magnified.
The meditation prompts this week draw the reader through a process of crying out and reaching for help (meditation one), touching and being touched by loving silence (meditation two), and then becoming the touch the world cries for (meditation three).–Suzanne
Meditation One reaching and touching
Give your weakness to one who helps.
Crying out loud and weeping are great resources. A nursing mother, all she does is wait to hear her child. Just a little beginning-whimper, and she’s there.
God created the child, that is, your wanting, so that it might cry out, so that milk might come.
Cry out!Don’t be stolid and silent with your pain.Lament! And let the milk of loving flow into you.
-Rumi, trans. Coleman Barks trans., The Essential Rumi, exerpt from Cry Out in your Weakness
Jesus raises the daugher of Jairus: Chinese Bible painting (left) and an African Vie de Jesus Mafa (right). I found both these pictures on Christian websites. These may be copyrighted - if so, let me know and I'll take them down.
Entering Presence in silence (the Collect for Quiet Confidence)
O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength: by the might of thy Spirit life us, we pray thee, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God.
Collect for Proper 8
Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone:Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.Amen
Healing Jairus' Daughter, From Petrus Comestor's Bible Historiale, 1372, France
Woman touching Jesus' hem, fresco, Catacomb ofSaints Peter and Marcellinus, 3rd century
Meditation Two a loving silence reaching and touching
Allowing the Silence to Find Us When an acute illness kidnaps you, the initial moments, hours, or days may be a blur.It may be very difficult, if not impossible, to concentrate long enough to listen to anything except the direct instructions of medical personnel.And the sheer shock of an acute event may leave you unable to listen.Yet somehow, many persons do manage to listen.They discover upon reflection that there has been a gift given, but perhaps not received. These persons have encountered a spiritual sense … (T)he practice of silencio is less a matter of a person directly willing the silence to happen than it is a matter of the silence greeting the person, either in the moment or at a later time of remembering.This type of spiritual listening requires waiting for the remembered silence to make itself known.It can’t be forced and it cannot be rushed.It comes as gift.
-Mary C. Earle, Broken Body, Healing Spirit, Lectio Divina and Living with Illness
If you had not given me the grace during my nightly vigils to drink the stillness and to submerge myself in it, letting it pervade me through and through, how could I guard that inner stillness without which one can hear neither human beings nor you, O Lord? -Dom Helder Camara, 1909-1999
When despair has obliterated ordinary prayer; when the psalms fail and all words are stupid and meaningless, the mantle of loneliness surrounding me becomes a mantle of dark and wordless love. This darkness reveals the paradox of prayer: in the absence of God, all there is, is God.
-Suzanne Guthrie, Grace's Window
Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
your own hands touching
Christ has no body now but yours
No hands, no feet on earth but yours
Yours are the eyes through which He looks
Compassion on this world
Christ has no body now on earth but yours
-attributed to Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)
Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.