How Far Are You Ready to Go? …​Hello weekend readers. This past week I’ve been reading a lot of interesting things from the Center for Action & Contemplation that is in Albuquerque, NM, and run by Fr. Richard Rohr. I learn so much from the many contributing writers, and this one from Franciscan theologian Ilia Delio, really caught my attention​​.​ He writes: “God delights in creation and loves each of us with a personal love. Prayer, therefore, is God’s desire to breathe in me, to be the spirit of my life, to draw me into the fullness of life. When I pray—when I breathe with God—I become part of the intimacy of God’s life.”

He also talks about the risk as well as the vulnerability that we are invited to share with God in our prayers. I don’t know about you, but for me sometimes my prayers are more generic because I’m not always ready to share ​things with God. But as I read Delio’s words, it again made me think of what I am missing! Delio says: “To pray is to open up oneself to God who dwells within us. It means holding back nothing from God and sharing everything with God. Only the grace of God can enable us to let go of our fears and allow God to be the God of our lives. True prayer is fundamental for life in God. It is that grace of conversion that opens up our hearts to realize the humble presence of God in our lives. Prayer of the heart is unceasing prayer, where God breathes in us and our hearts are turned toward God.”

We each have our prayer lives and our own ways we pray, but the question still begs us, “How far are we ready to go with those prayers as we speak to God?” It seems rather silly to think about it this way since God already knows everything—right? Yet, it is in our sharing that we exhibit our trust in God, giving us a deeper and close relationship with the Creator of all things. Being honest, I have to admit I’ve been like Adam and Eve way too often, hiding in the garden because I’ve sinned against God. And like them in the garden, God pursues us – “Where are you, my child?” Yikes, we can’t hide from God, but we certainly can rest in God!

Delio also wrote something that really gave my heart a jump-start: “Life in God should be a daring adventure of love but often we settle for mediocrity. We follow the daily practice of prayer but we are unwilling or, for various reasons, unable to give ourselves totally to God. To settle on the plain of mediocrity is to settle for something less than God, which leaves our hearts restless and unfulfilled.”

Are we settling for mediocrity—willing to just be the hamster running in circles all day long rather than seeking the adventure of faith God calls us to? For most of us, it’s way too easy to get into that kind of routine and then one day we wonder “how did I get in this rut?” We’ve adopted the secular world’s attitude of taking something less if it pleases us for the moment.

We have many conversations every day, most of them with our own selves, yet how many conversations do we have with God? Imagine if the Apostle Paul would have shelved prayer as he tried to share the love of Christ with the Gentiles—I don’t think he would have lasted a day! No, prayer was his constant connection to God. In his first letter to the Thessalonians (5:16-18 CEV) he urged the people to:

“Always be joyful and never stop praying.
Whatever happens, keep thanking
God because of Jesus Christ.
This is what God wants you to do.”

So, let’s answer the question we started with: “how far are you ready to go?” Far enough to lay it all out to God, no matter how twisted, weird, or bad things can be? None of us likes to admit the junk in our lives, but sooner or later we either get rid of it or it gets so heavy we not only stay in our rut, we get buried in it!

In closing, let’s once more read the words from Ilia Delio about prayer and life with God. He says “Prayer is that dynamic, life-giving relationship with God by which we grow deep in God’s Word, strong in God’s grace, and free in God’s love to dream with God the unimaginable.” Now if that isn’t an adventure, what is?