.....how one line out of a prayer can all of a sudden hit you like a sledgehammer? I know what Smock would say about that experience: it's the Holy Spirit working trying to actually TEACH me something.
I love the form of the general confession that we use in our parish:
Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against You
in thought, word, and deed;
by what we have done
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry
and we humbly repent.
For the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in Your will,
and walk in Your ways;
to the glory of Your Name. Amen.
This prayer is precious to me. It has always (along with the prayer before communion in Rite One of the Anglican use: "We do not presume to come to this, Thy table, oh Lord.....") been something that seemed like a many faceted diamond--shining light in the dark corners of my heart first one way, then another. It is something that I shall gladly pray for the rest of my life, and never get over having something new to think about....
Anyway, today the line that hit me was: "That we may delight in your will..."
Delight? Are you kidding me? My life is too busy for delight. And besides, look at all the irritations and problems I've got in my life. What about that? And aren't we just a little too old, and WAY too cynical, for delight????
It's that lack of faith thing, I think. I can't trust God's providence enough to slow down and take a little time for delight in the work he has given me to do. His will that I be the mom of a great son? Yawn. His wondrous will that I be the wife of a great guy? Yeah, yeah. Out of the way, I got stuff to worry about here. His gracious will that I have meaningful work to put my hands to? Focus on the drudgery. His loving will that I learn that I can't do it all and need to let other people do what He's calling them to do? Hey, don't you know I can do everything? Just watch me, I'm a martyr.
It stopped me cold.
I want to delight in His will--whatever His will is for me. In good times. In bad times. It all comes back to that self-abandonment thing, don't you suppose? That to have the delight, I have to first accept that I am not the one who is ultimately calling the shots here. That there are lessons that I've got to learn.
I want to rest content in whatever happens to me. A woman in our church was studying for the ministry (obviously before I was Catholic). She had been assigned to her first congregation, and it meant moving far away from all her friends and family. I asked her if she were nervous (for there is no one who is a bigger homebody at heart than I am). She said something that I have remembered all these years. "Yes, I'm nervous. But I want to be as a feather blown on the breath of God. Where he sends me, what he sends me, I want to take in stride, knowing it is right."
I want that, too.
And a double helping of the delight, please......