Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Limits of our Words

This morning began with a visit to the hospital to see the dying brother of a member of a colleagues church in Cleveland.  In other words, his minister could not come and I was the proxy.  It is not all that unusual for me to go as a stranger into someone's hospital room and I actually feel pretty comfortable doing so.  Having written that - at the same time I come in unsureness and a sense of obedience.

My role is to listen, comfort and pray and I do all of that and plan to return tomorrow.  And I leave wondering as always - was that OK?  Helpful? comforting?   Hoping that something more than my inadequate words were present.  And then I let it go.

I continue to read the book on Centering Prayer and realize that this journey into wordless prayer is a lot of "letting go."  As I sit in my prayer room I try to let go of insights, words, images, plans, ego, needs and just try to be present and empty.  Which is hard because my mind is so full.  Full really of me.

My email meditation from Richard Rohr this morning was perfect as I struggle with this.  He writes:

The Desert Fathers and Mothers gave birth to what we call the apophatic tradition, knowing by silence, symbols, and not even needing to know with words. It amounted to a deep insight into the nature of faith that was eventually called the "cloud of unknowing" or the balancing of knowing with not needing to know. Deep acceptance of ultimate mystery is ironically the best way to keep the mind and heart spaces always open and always growing.

And so what I realize is the inadequacy of any words - including these that I write right now - to describe the spiritual mystery of faith.  And so sometimes silence can be so comforting as I continue to learn how to let go and allow God to fill my soul - despite my awareness of my brokenness and the grief and the wounds of the world.

This all sounds so serious but at the same time what I know for sure is that God wants us to wake up and be alive.  Really alive to the beauty and the grace that surrounds us.  But maybe we only get there when we are able to really let go of knowing and having  all these words and just open ourselves  to the mystery of the presence of the Holy One.

No comments: