I am blessed, I have a beautiful space in my home which I have declared mine own. It has my own things within, organised in a way I so wish, without the pressure of another’s way. You enter through an ancient wide low farm-housey cottage door, which leads into my little natural calico imbued sanctuary. Almost next to the entrance door (3 steps in) is another door which leads to another little room, which may be used by others on and off briefly throughout the day time. But in the evenings my room is all mine, without interruption or distraction, or the three steps of anyone else.
My room has been blessed with holy water by my priest and is truly a sacred space. There is a little 12 pane, ancient sliding Essex window (which reminds me of those little Georgian christmas lanterns). This window overlooks the rambling back garden which is full of birdsong. Below the window is a simple Georgian table, exactly the same as John Henry Newman’s one in his bedroom at Littlemore. I have an antique Flemish dutch writing bureau, which is where my un-disciplined studies are done, and from which life is (supposed to be) organized. I have a vintage cream farm-house rocking chair, a simple and beautiful wrought iron ivory bed (which in the day-time looks like a settee). A little rubbed cream coffee table. A full length bowed mirror with a bedside drawer below, and my precious bookcase where much of my journey through life is unfolding.
Above my bed is a crucifix, but not one of desperate sadness, torture and heartbreak. It is made from a simple natural crude twig, from nature. This is no man-made torturous cross. It is Jesus’ body, whose arms are raised up to the heavens (45% apart) as if He is lifting His heart up to the Father, beseeching His Love. He is the cross. My crucifix is much more evocative of the risen Lord. It is all-powerful and all peaceful, a cross imbued with faith in the power of Love.
Recently (all within the last few weeks) my life has been so very much focused around prayer. Prayer for people whom are poorly, and prayer for those whom are grief stricken. Prayer seems so very much more prominent at the moment. I am not speaking of my deepest most private prayers, (always which I share with God alone) but prayer connected with life in the outside world. Life at Uni. Lessons at adult faith formation classes (which are covering many topics) which last week happened to be on prayer. Sessions with my Spiritual Director, which up to now have been rather more a releasing of my perspective, but now have also began to focus upon formal prayer.
I surprisingly struggled in my faith formation class. We had to get in to small groups of 5 and share (in my case with complete strangers) how we pray. I pretty soon twigged that most people in my group did not personally pray (apart from when/if they attended Mass). One lady declared that she recited the odd formal prayer from time to time. When it was my turn to share I began so very enthusiastically, but pretty soon found myself tapering what information I offered, and turning off my share button because of the dampened awkward response. It has been suggested by others in the past, that we should keep our prayers tuned to that which we believe to be realistic, keep our prayers open in a safe context. Not to take the risk of praying for our deepest desires (which may not come true) but instead, to pray to be changed from within. I disagree wholeheartedly, we should pray for our deepest most authentic Truth to come into fruition, if that is also to be God’s desire. To lay our prayers upon the table as it were. To trust in Him. To allow for God’s Will (who alone sees the bigger picture) to slowly unfurl.
In my faith class, it was neither right nor appropriate to dilute (by only brief explanation) the richness, strength, depth and clarity of my daily prayer experience, with people who were coming at prayer from a completely different perspective. Prayer for me has become a constant ongoing dialogue, all day every day, where God and I are walking together. There are also more formal moments throughout my day when everything stops, and it is just solely Him and me, no other distractions. One of which I couldn’t possibly have shared, is when I am in the shower in the mornings, the water falling upon my head acts as a therapeutic but physical powerful veil, a shroud which allows me to cut off the outside world, and channels my connection beyond the other side of the waterfall. It is all-powerful. My bedtime prayers so too, are deeply connecting and all evoking.
My absolute faith in my prayer comes from the moment that my father died, 6 years ago. In deepest prayer, if I recall the moments leading up to my father’s death, tears always come. Neither tears of joy nor sadness, just tears of absolute overwhelmingness. I prayed regularly and deeply, with my whole heart for my Dad to get better, with hind site knowing that he could not. And yet I refused to pray other wise. The doctors and nurses had no idea how long it would take for my father to die, they said it could be days, else it could be weeks. We sat with him daily. I refused to pray other than to keep him here with his family who Loved him. It wasn’t until one day when I was holding his hand and stroking his soft skin, that I decided to pray other. I closed my eyes, I clenched my hands tightly together, I put my head down touching his bed, and I silently prayed (the hardest I have ever prayed in my entire life) with all of my Love, and all of my faith, for God to please take him quickly, and not to keep him suffering here in this life any longer. Within moments of me handing over my Daddy in prayer, he took his last breath. I was holding his hand. I felt God. It was all-powerful. He was holding us both.
Since then, I gave God the right to do with me what He will, and He has. My life has been blessed with such shockingly unexpected events and bestowed with such God blessed Love. A Love which before was unknown. A Love so all permeating and all-encompassing that I can not separate it from myself. A Love in which God has bound my beloved and I together in Him, One. Co-incidences and miracles have stalled me. I am slowly learning how to live within the current restrictions imposed upon my life, how to recognise the graces that I have had bestowed upon me, how to aspire God’s way, by things which inspire me, each and every day. All this is revealed every evening, (through formal prayer) by examining (through my consciousness) the day that I have spent. It is said that Saint Ignatius thought that the prayer of consciousness daily, was even more important than Mass.
It is this way of prayer that I would like to share with you. Just click on the link below.