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... a seasonal meditation


 A Lenten reflection from Sr Morag Gardham

LENT! Forty days and forty nights and time to hear again that invitation of God “Come back to me with all your heart”. Although most of us will not be going on a 40 day retreat this Lent, we are all called to find in our lives some kind of “desert”, some way of taking time out to remember who we are - human beings created in the image of our loving God and called to live in that love and to share that same love and compassion with others. In the busyness and preoccupations of our days we can forget this. So this time of Lent is a gift-time, a time to re-set our sights.    “Come back to me with all your heart” is both a challenge and an invitation renewed.   Do I really live “with all my heart” and “in God”? Will I hear that invitation again this Lent?

As Teilhard de Chardin says:”…we most often act only from a tiny portion of ourselves. Whether eating or working, or doing mathematics or a crossword puzzle, we are only partially engaged in that activity, with only one or other of our faculties- our senses, our limbs, or our reasoning function, but never our heart itself - human action but not the action of the whole person.”

How can I live more from the heart, placing all that I am and do within the context of a loving relationship with God who is the ground of my being? Jeremiah says that people who place their trust in God are like trees by the waterside, that thrust their roots to the stream and even in the drought never stop bearing fruit, [ Jer.7 ]

Here is a simple body-prayer exercise that might help us at the start of the day to live this faith reality a little more deeply this Lent. Like Moses before the burning bush, it helps to remember that the ground we stand on is holy, for God is the ground of our being. To take off our shoes as we pray this prayer is a reminder of this and helps us to be in more direct contact with the ground.

Start by standing with your feet comfortably apart,
your body upright but not tense,
your arms loosely by your sides,
your chin tucked in and your head erect
as if a thread were gently pulling you up from the crown of your head to the ceiling or the sky.

Now sense your feet touching the ground. Rock slightly back and forth to feel the contact of the sole and heel of your foot on the ground.
Splay out your toes a little.
Imagine them like the roots of a tree, planting itself in the earth.
Spend some time with this.
Carry this forward into your prayer,
asking God that this Lent all that you are and all that you do
may be more and more firmly rooted in that Love
that holds you and all people and things in being.

Looking at the day or week ahead,
what gift or grace do you need at this moment
to carry out the tasks that await you and the relationships involved?
Express these to God and, like the tree planted by the waterside,
imagine drawing on that spring of water within that is the gift that God makes to us.

Now you may want to lift up your arms like branches to the light of God,
praying as the Spirit inspires you.
Let your arms fall back by your side and return your attention to your feet
and to rooting yourself in God.
As you leave this time of prayer and put on your shoes
try to hold on to that sense of rootedness
as you go out to meet whatever the day holds for you.