Franciscan Spirit Blog

My Love Letter to God

Late at night when all the sounds outside are quiet, the inner sounds sometimes clamor to be heard, and we toss and turn trying to still their demands. It is always the same: They win for a while and finally sleep comes—too late to bring that needed healing of mind and body.

I reach out to you,
O Lord,
And all I touch is my own emptiness,
Air and silence and the memory
That this kind of prayer never works for me.
When I am most in need,
Prayer never seems to help.
It only strengthens my own helplessness.
In your own way, in your own time
You will answer.
That I know, that I remember.
So once again I lean on
Patience. I wait.
As before, there is
This waiting, this dread that
I Won’t hold out.
But I do, and
That is perhaps your answer.
We cannot stamp our feet or cry
And expect you to come running.
We only say, “Into your hands, O Lord.”
And there is peace, for you are faithful
If not prompt, and you will answer
When you will answer. Amen.

God is love. That is all we know and all that matters in the end. For to say, “God is love,” means that we are loved, and therefore we can love. Loving is all we can do that matters now or ever, and that is possible only because God is love. To love is to be, for God is love. When we love, we are, for God is because God loves. I don’t know if I understand this, but it consoles me.

I never seem to thank you, God, as earnestly as I entreat you.

Yet somehow I know that thanking you is much of what prayer is about. You are so good and so faithful and that alone should make my whole life an act of thanksgiving. And when on top of that, I call to mind all that you have done in my life, the countless attentions, the growing within me, the obstacles you have removed, the gift of your presence, I blush at my ingratitude and indifference at times. Like the sparrows that have always been in my life, you are so present that I take you for granted. And therefore I thank you now in the Eucharist, that perfect act of thanksgiving in which you give thanks for me, even when at Mass my mind and heart are elsewhere.

In the crisis and sorrows of our lives, one of the first questions we ask is, will someone be there, will anyone help to support us? In my own life this has become almost the definition of God: the One who is there.

Not just in crises, of course, but always. And yet it is most difficult to believe that God is there if there is not another human being there as well. Perhaps it is the weakness of my faith, but it is so hard to believe that God is here with me if there is no one else besides. When others stand with us and beside us, God shines forth in our midst. So maybe God keeps coming to us in the form of those “angels” who look like human beings.

One day is much like another in the search for God. But from time to time there is a sudden, unexpected revelation, or shining forth of God. You’re startled that you realize God is everywhere, in everything and everyone. Call it insight, epiphany, baptism in the spirit, or any other name, it is the same experience: The God within you is revealed fleetingly, and all the rest of your days are changed permanently. Something happens that you did not merit and that you cannot explain or communicate. But it is more real than any communicable experience, and you cannot formulate it or capture it in words; for to do so would be to have some hold on God, who cannot be captured in a phrase or formula. Nor can you, by remembering it, recapture the experience. It is gift; it is grace.

The spirit blows where it will.


God's Love Song
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