A new year, a new beginning. So many hopes and dreams I have for this year, for myself, for my family and for my friends. I want to approach it with open hands. Ready for whatever it will bring.
I share with you a meditation adapted from a book by Peter van Breeman, SJ, As Bread that is Broken. I wrote this in one of my commonplace journals nearly 20 years ago while on a silent retreat in the Arizona desert. I remember Sister Therese as I write this, a woman who inspired me to remember that August will take care of August, and that God is always with me, and reminds me of that and her whenever I see a cardinal.Prayer is to be in God’s presence with open hands and an open heart. There are many things in my life to which I cling with a clinched fist–my possessions for sure, but the immaterial things as well: the work I do, the position I hold, the friends I have, my ideas, my principles, my image. If I should open my fist, they still remain. Nothing drops out. But my hands are open. And that is what prayer is. After awhile, if I am willing to remain long enough with open hands, the Lord will come and look and roam through my hands to see what I have. The Lord may be surprised: so many things! Then, the lord will look at me and ask:
Would you mind if I take out this little bit? Would mind if I take this worry of yours, this fear, this insistence on your own way? Would you mind if I take this resentment, this bit of self-righteousness? Would you mind if I take this possession, this friend? Would you mind if I take a bit of your health? Or your wealth? would you Mind?And I answer: Of course you may take it out. That’s why I am here with open hands. And perhaps the Lord will look another time at me and ask:
Would you mind if I put something else in your hands? Would you mind if I give you some new vision, a bit more tolerance, more patience, more hope? Would you mind if I make your heart more pliable? Would you mind if I make your yearning for me deeper? Would you mind if I give you a new talent, help you discover a new gift? Would you be open to a new friend in your life? Would you mind if I make your love more consuming, more burning, more total?And I answer: Of course you may take it out. That’s why I am here with open hands.
This image, a drawing from 2004, created as part of this meditation. Maybe I’ll do this again today…Happy New Year!