St. Ignatius would direct folks in prayer to think about Jesus was sitting in a chair throughout the room and to talk to him as one would converse to a trusted good friend. However generally throughout the room is simply too far-off, and generally there aren’t any phrases to be mentioned.
I’ve been preventing most cancers for 18 months now, racking updated 323 appointments on the hospital (not together with a complete of seven weeks inpatient): clinics, labs, remedies, transfusions. It has been a non secular slugfest as a lot as a bodily one. However when a PET scan revealed a brand new spot on my lung, doubtlessly which means I had made no progress in any respect within the struggle, I ran out of phrases to hope.
Sure, I had been gifted an additional 284 days to stay post-transplant—a present afforded to lower than 30% of individuals in my state of affairs. I had a lot for which to be grateful. However nonetheless the phrases wouldn’t come. The exhaustion was simply too overwhelming. I might attempt to pray, and the darkness engulfed me. It wasn’t even the darkness of doubtless dying. (I had handled that a lot already.) It was the darkness of dwelling, of exhaustion, of wanting desperately to get out of the ring. Once I tried to think about Jesus within the chair throughout the room, the room was too darkish, and all I might do was put my head in my arms. An individual can’t see throughout the room together with her head in her arms.
In that second of isolation, I lastly obtained a glimpse of the true energy of centering prayer—no phrases, no spinning the ten,000 anxieties in my head, no evaluation. Ignatius was flawed. Jesus isn’t in a chair throughout the room. Jesus is correct subsequent to me, leaning in, brow to brow. No phrases wanted. Each time my thoughts began to whirl, all I heard was, “Shhh. Simply be with me.” That was my mantra. And there we sat till I lastly had the need and vitality to say, “Thanks.”
I don’t blame God for my illness. I don’t suppose it’s a check from God to show myself worthy. I nonetheless don’t know the way the ability of prayer works. In as a lot Ignatian spirit as I can muster, I don’t even pray for well being or a protracted life as a lot as energy to get by what’s and to at all times develop nearer to the service of Love. However I do know, when you possibly can’t get any phrases out and you may’t see as a result of your head is in your arms, that going head-to-head with Christ, letting your self simply be, and permitting Infinite Like to fully wash over you when you really feel unworthy and exhausted, in some way brings a peace that surpasses all understanding. It’s extra highly effective than any drugs, radiation, or chemotherapy.
And so, the struggle goes on. Cue the bell. Spherical 10. We die little deaths to our need for management of our little world and rise to freedom in Infinite Love. However the struggle is at the very least simpler once I go head-to-head with Christ in my nook. (Spoiler alert: Infinite Love at all times wins.)
Photograph by Liza Summer time by way of Pexels.