This was my week of exploring the third step of AA - or spirituality anonymous.
The third step is made a decision to turn our will and life over to God.
And the word for that is to "surrender." Which is not at all a welcome idea. Richard Rohr writes: "Surrender will always feel like dying, and yet it is the necessary path to liberation."
I had that experience that sometimes happens to me - that when I care deeply about the subject, I have a lot of trouble putting it into a sermon. I have first hand experience with "surrendering" and I know that it is easier to talk about than to do.
And when I think about the times that I have finally given up - and it is often giving up my ideas of how things should be or how I should be. and they are often wrenching and painful but they invariably lead to freedom.
What was interesting to me is that in all of the books I am using for this series - they talk about codependency at this juncture of the program. If we are going to turn our will and life to God we stop trying to control everything and everyone.
And stop trying to meet everyone's needs. Again, I have first hand experience with being codependent and I know that often we are the last ones to recognize our own controlling nature.
So, the bottom line here in this whole idea is that we have got to get in touch with what is going on with ourselves. And that, of course, is the whole point of everything - not just AA - but the Christian journey. If we are serious about it, we will continue to allow God to show us what we need to see right now.
When I was on Silent Retreat, I spent some time with Mary - a statue of Mary in the beautiful grotto at Our Lady of the Pines. She surrendered. To say yes - to giving birth to anyone is a surrender of your whole life. Let alone this story of God's angel who tells this "favored one" that the holy spirit is going to come upon her. She surrendered to giving birth to Jesus - or another way of saying it - she gave birth to love.
I shared this prayer with the Sunday night discussion group. I received it from Debbie Brenneman at my peer group meeting. It is written by Jeremy Taylor.
Grant me Love!
Please make it simply
Make it crack and melt the hard places
Where I am so sure of myself.
Make it stiffen and enliven the weak places
Where I am uncertain, ignorant,
and secretly afraid.
And please make it horribly "inappropriate"
So I must really know you in myself,
Myself in you,
To give up everything that it not love
(Because it is so hard to do it willingly....)
I pray this
Knowing it will ruin me.
Let me be ruined by love,
So that I may come back to you
Without pride, or stupidity,
- or pretense, or opinions -
or any sense of separation -
Like a lover
Hungry and ecstatically full
All at the same time!
Final quote by Richard Rohr
"We have been graced for a truly sweet surrender, if we can radically accept being radically accepted - for nothing!....it is easy to surrender when you know that nothing but Love and Mercy is on the other side."