BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.
Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.
Settle into silence, into peacefulness, into profound silence and keep listening in quietness, stillness and serenity.
Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that comes with this moment….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..
May this moment and all other coming moments open new doors for you and may God bless you with wisdom and courage to walk in faith, as you continue your journey of life!
Now from the depth of your heart begin to wish your mind well……….
All our meditations begin with “Be still and know that I am God”. Our meditation today is on “Be Still”. Being still is about silence and solitude, serenity and peace, gentleness and gracefulness…and everything that creates a spirit of prayer and contemplation. Being still is about creating a “deserted place”, a place of “solitude” within. It is about presence, about sitting or dwelling or abiding in God’s presence and nothing more!
Pray with me as you begin this meditation….Psalm 131
1 My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.
Psalm 131 speaks of the “stilled and quieted” soul that finds confidence: “hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.”
Peaceful communion with God can happen without words. “I have stilled and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother (Ps. 131:2).”
Like the satisfied child who has stopped crying and is in its mother’s arms, so can “my soul be with me” in the presence of God. Prayer then needs no words, maybe not even thoughts.
Sometimes we are apparently silent, and yet we have great discussions within, struggling with imaginary partners or with ourselves. Calming our souls requires a kind of simplicity: “I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me” (Ps. 131:1). Silence means recognizing that my worries can’t do much. Silence means leaving to God what is beyond my reach and capacity. A moment of silence, even very short, is like a minute vacation, a holy stop, a sabbatical rest, a truce of worries.
The turmoil of our thoughts can be compared to the storm that struck the disciples’ boat on the Sea of Galilee while Jesus was sleeping. Like them, we may be helpless, full of anxiety, and incapable of calming ourselves. But Christ is able to come to our help as well. As he rebuked the wind and the sea and “there was a great calm”, he can also still or quiet our hearts when it is agitated by fears and worries (Mark 4). Remaining silent, we trust and hope in God.
When God’s word becomes “a sound of sheer silence”, it is more efficient to change our hearts. The heavy storm on Mount Sinai was splitting rocks, but it is the sudden silence that spoke to Elijah. God’s silent word is able to break open human hearts of stone.
Silence makes us ready for a new meeting with God. In silence, God’s word can reach the hidden corners of our hearts. In silence, we stop hiding before God, and the light of Christ can reach and heal and transform even what we are ashamed of.
Prayerfulness implies withdrawal to quiet places, to be alone with the father, to abide in the Father’s Love. Jesus set this as an example for us to follow. From the very beginning of their ministry, Jesus taught the disciples about the need for time, away from work and service projects, the need for time to rest, relax, pray…time for peace…time to spend with their master…to abide in him.
Jesus had sent out his disciples on their first mission. They returned from their mission and began to tell Jesus about their accomplishments (Mark 6:30-34). Jesus, gently and quietly, invited them to a “deserted place” to rest a while. From the very beginning of their ministry, Jesus taught the disciples the need for time, away from work and service projects, the need for time to rest, relax, pray…time for peace…time to spend with their master…to abide in him.
The disciple must go from the master to fulfill the master’s mission and must return to the master to be strengthened and filled again with the master’s wisdom.
The “busyness”, the trials, the testing times, the challenges, etc. of the mission can stifle the spirit and become burdens heavy to carry. One can become so busy with the master’s work that he/she can forget the master himself. It is easy to lose focus. It is urgent to maintain focus, to be centered again and again in God and God’s way.
Be still and know that I am God! (Ps.46:11)
“If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back quite gently and place it tenderly in God’s presence. And if you do nothing else while at prayer but bring your heart back again and again and place it in God’s presence………..though it went away every time you brought it back, your time of prayer would be very well spent” (Introduction to Devout Life, St. Francis De Sales).
One of our greatest challenges is to accept that when we are quiet, silent and are in solitude, just sitting or dwelling or abiding in God’s presence, we are doing very difficult but important work.
Being Present is what we experience when we are fully focused on this very moment. Being present is a time frame we choose to focus on.
There are only three possible time frames – past, present and future. Often our thoughts and feelings are focused on the past or the future. These thoughts are riddled with judgments, comparing the past or future to your present situation. Many people spend less than 1% of their time being fully present. The rest of the time, we drift in and out as our attention wanders.
The path to being more real in the present is to stop comparing. We compare the present with what “should” be happening. The result of this is judgments. We judge situations, other people and ourselves. Judgments make it hard to be present. Our minds become pre-occupied with thoughts that analyze the past or role-play the future. We live in the past and look at our wounds or we live in the future because we don’t trust ourselves that we’ll be okay in the future.
To be present now, in this moment, means that we live as though we have nothing to hide, nothing to prove and nothing to lose. This is how our mind, body, heart and soul become unified in that one moment. Time slows down. We are connecting with God, the eternal, the ever living Father of all! The definition of eternity is the present moment!
Being present means being attentive to this moment, being awake, alert and vigilant! Preoccupations about the happenings of yesterday and anxieties about what may happen tomorrow can stifle the spirit.
Reverence for the moment is a necessary attitude for hearing and seeing God in the moment. We must begin by reverencing our own lives, seeing the “holy” in the way our lives really are.
We must reverence the larger world too – the way world really is. There is no perfect marriage, no perfect family, no perfectly integrated personality, no perfect world. Our act of faith, of reverence is in this flawed and sinful world, not in some ideal one.
God communicates through our imperfect reality since imperfect reality is all we have. God speaks through the real world. He is in our struggles, our failures and our successes. Don’t limit God, Take off your shoes, walk through the day, make the leap of faith and give God your best.
Slow me down, Lord
Ease the pounding of my heart
by the quieting of my mind.
Steady my hurried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time.
Give me, amid the confusion of the day,
the calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tensions of my nerves and muscles,
with the soothing music of the singing streams that live in my memory.
Help me to know the magical, restoring power of sleep.
Teach me the art of taking minute vacations of slowing down
to look at a flower, to chat with a friend, to pat a dog,
to read a few lines from a good book.
Slow me down, Lord,
And inspire me to send my roots deep into the soil of life’s enduring values,
that I may grow toward the stars of my greater destiny. (Kristone)
Pay attention! The light may be ready to turn green! You better pay attention!
Notice the “moments of grace” in your life. These moments are not just something that happens to you…they are what you can offer someone else. The times that you can be there for someone, listen to someone, compliment someone, help someone…. serve someone. Those are the moments in your life worth paying attention to….they are moments of Grace and now is the moment of grace.
It takes real discipline to “attend to” – take note of – ordinary things. For most of us, it takes deliberate effort to be attentive. Major happenings like birth, moving, promotion, financial loss, death, etc. force themselves on our consciousness. The ordinary realities of life simply pass by; they just go by or we just go by them. Morning comes and evening comes, one day passes.
Jesus invited his men to be present, to rest, to listen, to savor the moment! He invited them to be strengthened in spirit and find joy in being accepted and loved without have to prove their worth. He invites us today… Come away to a quiet place and be still!
Be attentive…be Vigilant…Be present to the moment!
Now is the moment of Grace! Now is a moment of God!
Fr. Gus Tharppel,msfs