Posted by: wordofthevine | December 7, 2012

Prayer and the Boomeranging Heart of Jesus:The Third Connection for Advent

Mary and John Kaufmann and family

Mary and John Kaufmann and family

I look across the room at my teen-aged sons as we come together to pray. We have been gathering  for family prayer  most nights since they have been little.They’re looking down at their cell phones. I have to say let’s put them away when they often reply, “How long is this going to take?” It’s hard to write these words. Sometimes when prayer is dry for me too, I find myself sitting in my prayer space thinking, “How long do I stay here?” Family prayer is something to cultivate and be patient with.

For all of us, it’s difficult to integrate prayer into our lives and stay perked in its living dynamism. What can help us this Advent season to become truly, people of prayer?We lead lives that are busy and noisy! Blessed John Paul II, a preeminent example of a praying person, advised us to let Christ know us and for us to know Him. We do this by finding  a “desert or silent zone” in our lives where we can encounter Him.We have to be intentional to find silence that will facilitate our meditation, reflection and prayer. We can do this by exposing ourselves to beauty on a regular basis, beauty in the out doors, with artwork, with music, good movies and theater, even if it’s the high school auditorium. Form a responsiveness to life, so you are more easily moved towards God as you live.

I have a regular route that I take when I bike that leads me to an abandoned farm stead with an old red barn and corn crib. It sits overlooking a valley and monumental view of corn fields.  This is the place that I regularly return to in my imagination when I can’t spare the time to physically be there. This brings me peace. And, I purposefully leave my cell phone on the counter when I bike to my farm.

Many of us too, may be married to our mirror images. This means that in most relationships, we have to learn to give to the other when it is not always meeting our own needs in the moment. We have to learn to be real with each other and how to turn to God as our primary emotional sustenance. Every relationship, even ours with God, can seem dry at times. We have to cultivate an unshakable tried and try faithfulness towards God, like between those couples who have been married for 50 or 60 years. Our prayer not only reaches it destination when we pray, it penetrates the very heart of God, who feels, suffers and rejoices with us, and who sends a wave back to us, although sometimes it hits below the senses. When I dialogue with God about the challenges in family life or my own reactions, He’s moved. My prayers don’t echo in the abyss but nestle in His love which boomerangs graces that transform me.

I’m going to keep this image of the boomeranging heart of Jesus in mind when I look across the room at my teenagers who mumble prayers. Something is going on for it depends on the extravagant love of Jesus. ~ Mary

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