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    Silence as a prayer

  Silence as an offering

O Lord, I offer you this moment of silence.
This moment is for You.
I consent to Your action
In my mind, my heart, my will and my soul.
I welcome Your action!

  Where listening is true welcoming

And to prepare myself, to make room for You,
I will sit here, quietly, with my eyes closed possibly,
In an attitude of peaceful rest and loving devotion,
My intent is to welcome You.

And an exercise in humility

I will slow down my thoughts and my imagination,
I will calm down my fears and my emotions,
I will try to exercise patience and humility
And I offer you these feeble efforts…

 And part of a regular practice of attentive silence

I lift up my soul to You,
Whispering in my heart and in my mind,
"Here I am! Quiet but attentive to You".

In an effort to practice moments of silence on my part but with the intent of being attentive to God's voice at the very same time, I wrote the above prayer. I offer Him short moments of recollection, giving Him my complete attention, for these few minutes of quiet time carved out of a busy day. Or so I try, once in a while... Not nearly enough. And there are moments where I easily drift... But the truth is, it is a question of will and regular practice. And then it becomes easier and it taught me to detach myself from the physical environment I am in (let's say.. as in a crowded bus or sitting on a bunch during lunch time in the very busy downtown part of San Francisco, by the Embarcadero). I concentrate on quieting down that little inner voice of mine which, often enough, just goes in circle in my head. I often start with the Jesus Prayer, then I try to concentrate on this prayer above of silence and patience, on one word only, or just a few words the Bible, or a verse of a Psalm, which, today, might resonate more than usual with me.


    "O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner."

I will write more very soon about this absolutely wonderful, simple and short prayer (The Jesus Prayer) because it is a such a profound and formative one, a truly amazing one. It comes from the Eastern lung of the Church.
But to go back to my exercise of silence and patience (which should be done sincerely and honestly, in addition to patiently and humbly): then I visualize myself in a quiet place if I am not at home; and if I am, I offer my environment to be blessed; or, once in a while, I might visualise myself in a Church, alone with the Lord, as in Adoration. Distractions are not "interruptions" of these silent offering moments, they are very minor bumps. I certainly need to be aware of safety when outside. I also need to accept noise distractions (such as sirens passing close by) and turn myself again and again towards the Lord (interiorly). I often have to remind myself: be "flexible" and open to changes. Let go and let God! Whenever I stopped this prayer, I have often experienced peace in my heart and in my soul, and this is something to treasure. But I have also experienced a disturbing sense of "nothing is happening", even a sense of "it's not working"... but I discard these as emotional reactions and not true assessments, certainly not the assessment of how God is judging me since I have been told not to worry about this, I am supposed to pray and be patient and sincere but whether I walk away with serenity or not is a completely different matter. I do know I have a tendency to over-analyze whether I did right, but really, what's the point? Actually, it was amazing to me when I came back in the fold of the Church to realize that scrupulosity is considered a sin, when in the world to be scrupulous is considered a good quality. But I really understand now that it can be a lack of trust in God, a self-centered negative reaction, a false humility... But in the faith, you do what you know you should do and then you let it go, you do not rehash over it. Usually, I get up and walk away or go do the dishes, any simple action can help dissipate negative thoughts.
Most of the time, praying is such a good way to re-center my vision of the world on God and reenforce my own trust in his love, his grace and his mercy, and for all this and more, I am forever grateful!



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