Deborah Borden, a friend of mine in a professional organization, along with her husband, Donald, were good people but unlikely to be thought of as spiritual masters. Yet, Deborah had a significant impact on my life. She often spoke of Donald this way: “He loves me, not because of who I am, but because of who he is.”
One day in the silence of prayer, surprisingly, I understood my relationship with God in a similar way. God loves me not because of who I am. How would I know this but in a sacred silent space? –a space left open by the absence of noise. –a space uninhabited by worries, resentments, or fear. –a space large enough to offer hospitality to “a sound of sheer silence”. (1 Kgs 19:12b NRSVCE)
If there is no open space to listen, how can we be surprised by a mini- epiphany waiting to be revealed to us? Would we fail to experience the wonder of God’s gifts to us? If we do feel a sense of unbidden well-being, are we likely to miss the joy, due to the chaos and clamor all around?
"As C.S. Lewis noted in his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, every so often we are overcome by a feeling of enormous well-being and a desire for ‘we know not what.’ This desire is what he calls joy, and he describes it as more satisfying than the fulfillment of any other desire.”*
During this Advent season, let us take on the posture of Mary, that of prayerful silence. In that silence perhaps we will ‘hear’ a silent God loving us, yes, because that is who God is. God IS love. We may be surprised by the joy.
*(William Barry, God’s Passionate Desire. P. 7)