How God Searches For Us & Benediction

July 24, 2009 - 8:06 pm 29 Comments

Pastoral Story. Reflection: How God Searches For Us
There once was a woman named Helen of Troy… and she was so famous and so beautiful that the poet Homer said that it was her face “that launched a thousand ships… What you never heard from poetry class and from studying The Iliad, was what happened to her… after the battle was over……
She was distraught that so much trouble had come into her life… somehow, she blanked out… she lost any recognition of who and what she was… she began to wander around outside the safety of the fortress… losing her way, she became tattered, her fine dress became dirty, she became disheveled and looked more like a street urchin than a queen…
Now hungry, desperate, and forlorn, she sold herself into servitude, becoming a woman of the streets, a slave, someone on the edge…
One day, her old handmaiden was out shopping for groceries and supplies. She walked down near the piers, and along the farm stands and fish market, and there, huddled in a doorway, she saw someone that looked strangely familiar….
The old woman stopped, and looked… and after a short while she exclaimed Helen!!! Helen! and the pitiful beaten down woman replied, ” Who is Helen?” Why you are! You are Helen of Troy!!”

The old woman began to clean her up, and started to tell her stories about herself… incidents in her childhood, her teen years and as the highly prized young beauty…
Slowly it all begins to make sense, and the woman began to recognize that what the wise old woman was saying about her was the truth! A growing sense of strength and confidence returned, she began to walk tall, and feel like she regained a part of her that was mysteriously lost…. we could say that she found her true self again….
Whenever you feel disheartened, lost, desperate or feeling as if life has been cruel and bitter… remember that God knows who you truly are, and the Holy is searching for you, looking for you through your heart and through the words and caring of others… and it knowing that this sense of God always searching to find you, that can renew you, and that helps you to find and claim your truth so that whatever is good and holy can come alive again.

The Benediction adapted from Anthony De Mello’s Wellsprings
As we move through Lent, the time mystics such as Meister Eckart and others in Creation Spirituality have called The Via Negativa, it is a time for letting go, release and reaffirmation of what is truly essential and valuable for us… in that spirit centering , in the release and in the reciprocity of love, I now offer a mediation on blessing one another called Benediction …
Today, I choose to pray for others… but how will I impart to them the gift of peace and love if my own heart is still unloving, burdened, and I have no peace of mind for myself???
So, the true start of my prayer for others is with myself… centering, breathing slowly and deeply I visualize being before God, and knowing that any lurking problem, any ill feelings, or troubling emotions that I have are still with me… I ask for the grace found in release… that these issues and concerns that weigh me down will be lightened and leavened, and if not in this day and hour, that these questions and problems will soon depart …
Then I seek to receive a portion of divine peace… I list, before God, those worries that disturb me and I imagine that I have placed them in God’s hands …Then await, in my silent and listening heart, those words of power and comfort, assurance and freedom that can come to me… Listening… to my body… to my breath… to the movement of the Spirit in and throughout my consciousness… At first, I offer a silent prayer for people whom I love… Over each one of them, I say this benediction, “May you be safe from evil and any harm,” and I visualize that a shield of God’s grace and blessing covers and protects them.

Then, moving in the assurance and peace of God, I move to those people whom I dislike or that have been troublesome to me… Over each of them I offer this benediction, ” May we be friends some day,” and I visualize that any hostilities vanish, and the truth of our being, united as companions in God, be better understood and realized.
Now, I move on to any anxious or depressed people, anyone who might be sick or who is suffering … To each of them, I offer a benediction, ” May you find peace and joy,” imagining that they will find the good of God in themselves and the strength and clarity, the release and freedom to move up and beyond whatever holds them down or back from this peace…
I come back to my heart now, to rest momentarily in that quiet assurance, and in that loving feeling that has come alive, that feeling of love which has been restored to me as a consequence of my prayers for others…

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