Faith is a strange thing. And I have a complicated relationship with mine at times.
My mind wants desperately to understand, and my heart has experienced too many things beyond human understanding.
I follow the writings of a Christian philosopher by the name of Richard Rohr. Rohr is unlike any other Christian writer I’ve ever read. My aunt gave me one of his books for my college graduation, entitled, “Yes, And…”
It is thought-provoking stuff, what he writes. Not easily digested. It usually requires a lot of contemplation, and, for me, meditation.
Sometimes though, the simplest things stick with me.
I get daily emails with a devotion of sorts by either Rohr or someone he collaborates with, and within them is always a “Gateway to silence”.
It’s a thought to spend with in meditation. I love that.
Quieting my mind is not something that comes easily to me at all. My brain rages against all attempts to be still, silent, unless it’s time for sleep. Usually not even then, not for a while.
So these “gateways” help me zero in, harness the energy that my mind seems to produce 24/7, and enter a quieter, more thoughtful posture.
A couple of weeks ago, the gateway was:
“God for me. God with me. God in me.”
Before I became Episcopalian, I side eyed people who crossed themselves, wondering what all of that was about.
I read somewhere once that making the sign of the cross was a prayer of the body. We often make it in services when referencing the Trinity during the liturgy.
As I read that particular gateway to silence, I pictured making the sign of the cross.
Head to heart: “God for me.”
A protective shield for my mind, my eyes and ears, my mouth, my heart. God created all of these things, He longs to transform all of these things. He gives me an armor to withstand everything the world throws against them that is harmful, not truthful.
Shoulder to shoulder: “God with me.”
Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. I am not alone. There is someone who has experienced all of my humanity, all of my pain, and He is called my brother. He intercedes for me with our Father, and is a constant presence beside me.
Hand over heart: “God in me.”
The Holy Spirit makes its dwelling place within my own being. I cannot escape the presence of the Divine because of these 3 perfections of truth surrounding me at all times. There is no smothering, only presence. It is solely up to me whether or not I tap into that presence. The Holy Spirit gives my heart enlightenment and peace, speaking prayers when my words and thoughts fail.
Now perhaps all of that seems a bit bizarre to you. Perhaps the words “meditation” and “mantra” sound a little too…..mystical.
Well God is mystical. The idea of a Trinity of holy beings is mystical. And I know that, in my own personal spiritual, Christian journey, there has been far too much emphasis on making sense of this God, this Christ, and not nearly enough being enraptured by the sheer presence of It.
For someone with my anxious mind, resting in that presence becomes more and more a daily necessity. Not pouring out a list of requests to a God that I ask to make my life, my loved ones’ lives better. Simply a few uninterrupted moments of not having to have anything figured out. A silent knowing.
I’ve thought of two scriptures a lot recently:
Be still and know that I am God.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
“Fearing”, I think, and “knowing”, not insinuating just what we typically interpret these words to mean.
Reverence, yes. But also delighting in our own “unknowing”. Being comfortable enough with our own human fallibility to accept and tap into that Divine presence that surrounds us, constantly.
It is a source of great comfort to me, especially in anxious moments, of which I have had a lot recently.
It is where my mind goes to rest in the arms of its Creator. At peace with the temporary uncertainty of life. A peace that says one day I will know, even as I am fully known.