Lent is a time for wilderness. In the Holy Spirit, wilderness is a gift. By God’s grace we meditate and reflect on what in our lives now is good and what is not. But it’s not so much about seizing control but about handing over to God and letting go the need to fight until our knuckles are white, clinging for dear life to our self-righteous moral codes. In the wilderness, in the Holy Spirit, we are not alone. Trust the Spirit. Let go the temptation to control.


Praying by relaxing… PALMS DOWN / PALMS UP


Begin by placing your palms down as a symbolic indication of your desire to turn over any concerns you may have to God. Inwardly you may pray, “Lord, I give to you my anger toward John. I release my fear of my dentist appointment this morning. I surrender my anxiety over not having enough money to pay the bills this month. I release my frustration over trying to find a baby-sitter for tonight.” Whatever it is that weighs on your mind or is a concern to you, just, palms down, RELEASE it. You may even feel a tingling sense of release in your hands. After several moments of surrender, turn your palms up as a symbol of your desire to receive from the Lord. Perhaps you will pray silently: “Lord, I would like to receive your divine love for John, your peace about the dentist appointment, your patience, your joy.” Whatever you need, say it, palms up. Having centred down, spend some time in complete silence. Do not ask for anything. Allow the Lord to commune with your spirit, to love you. If impressions or directions come, fine; if not, that’s fine too.


Wendell Berry, Kentucky farmer poet:

When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound / in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on February 18, 2013.

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