While on retreat at the Jesuit Center a few weeks ago my spiritual director gave me some readings to focus my thoughts.
One of those readings was an article by Father Ronald Rolheiser.
Why we Pray
Writing about prayer he challenges many common thoughts about why we pray. Prayer is not about getting things from God. Nor is it about “having beautiful thoughts about God.”
Prayer is about us “feeling God’s affection for us.”
Abba Father loves ME.
Praying in this way opens the door for me / us to experience the full depth and breadth of who God is.
It expands my / our capacity to love myself and others as Jesus called us to.
Rolheiser suggests that prayers greatest functions is to help us experience God’s love for us.
Faith that we are Loved
It was Thomas Merton who wrote, “the root of Christian love is not the desire to love, but the faith that we are loved.”
Stop and think about that for a moment.
How many have struggled to love others? Think of the times when you have known the correct response is love or forgiveness but just could not find it within yourself to move that way.
Could it be that we jump to “showing” love before understanding, truly embracing the depth of Abba Father’s love for us?
Until we make that discovery…until we experience the love of Jesus in a personal, relational way there is little hope of us truly submitting to one another in love.
My greatest expressions of love come when I am confident that I am loved…loved by Abba Father…being able to rest in that reality is what sets captives free.
A “simple” prayer
One of the simple prayers I have been offering up to God these days goes something like this…
“Abba Father, help me to see myself as You see me. Help me to know and experience the depth of your love for me.”
I will be better able to love like Jesus the more I know…truly believe that Abba Father loves me just as He loved Jesus.