What lies below the surface that no one else can see?
If my thoughts floated in a fishbowl would they be shallow, noisy, distracted surface dwellers? Or would they be able to be still, go deep, and tap into the true source of Life and Strength?
It takes time to grow an interior life, time to form habits of redirecting our thinking to bring our thoughts before the Light of God.
Times of exterior silence give us opportunity to examine the depth of our interior life. So often we invite “PRE-occupation” to distract us from our true “occupation”--union with God. Why do we run? Why do we busy ourselves? Only with God will we find the peace and joy we are seeking.
So how do we cultivate this interior silence, these deep roots that allow us to flourish?
Solitude, silence, and times of prayer unite our soul with the indwelling Spirit of God. In this time we can bring all of our thoughts, questions, desires, and anxieties to Him, turning our interior running monologue into a dialogue with God. As my friend once told me, “If you know how to worry, you know how to pray.” Once we learn to connect in the silence, we can do it repeatedly again and again and again, through the course of our day, sending our roots deeper and deeper into the depths of God.
What I have seen in my own life is this: When I humbly turn my interior gaze to God and strive to bring EVERY THOUGHT to Him, I can much more quickly see what thoughts are MINE (aka not life giving) and which are in line with HIM (those that bring peace and life). Fr. John Paul Duran suggests, “Try adding a ‘comma Lord’ at the end of each thought.” I have asked God to please take control of my interior life, to make me see how ridiculous my worries and anxious thoughts can be, and even learn to laugh at myself.
I picture bringing my thoughts and placing them on an altar before His intense, piercing light. There they sit. The light then shines and incinerates what is not of Him, and what is of Him is left as pure gold. The beauty is this...what has been incinerated was like garbage occupying space in my head, and only when it is gone can it be replaced with beautiful grace!
There is no condemnation, only grace! Therefore I run to the LIGHT Of GOD and ask Him to please purify my thoughts, for if and when I am in this perfect union, there is nothing but gold and grace left in my soul.
After much practice, even in times of exterior noise and distraction, I can be in perfect peace with deep roots connecting me to the anchor of my soul, if I glance His way.
Brother Lawrence, the 17th Century Carmelite lay brother who wrote, The Practice of the Presence of God taught that, with practice, one may grow in delightful unity with God in no time.
“There is no way of life in the world more agreeable or delightful than continual conversation with God; only those who practice and experience it can understand this.”
I believe anyone who is diligent and makes a concerted effort can experience this because it is an invitation of His grace that draws us there.
“God does not ask a great deal of us; a brief remembrance from time to time, a brief act of adoration, occasionally to ask him for grace or offer him your sufferings, at other times to thank him for the graces he has given you and is giving you. In the midst of your work find consolation in him as often as possible.”
Once we form this habit of continually glancing at God, inviting Him into our interior conversations, we can experience grace, peace, and joy, in spite of the noise and exterior commotion of our everyday life.
But first...practice in silence and let your roots grow deep.
“So, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7
I want to always and everywhere be in perfect union with You. I want to have purity of heart, mind and soul. Take my every thought and make it pleasing to You, for from my thoughts all words and actions will flow. Please take my worries, anxieties, frustrations and longings and bring them into Your beautiful grace-filled, healing Light. Where my heart is empty, make it full of Your Presence. I want my roots to go deep so that no matter the storms or distractions of life, I am safely united with You. I thank You in advance for all You will do with this prayer.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.