Sunday, May 18, 2008

Now Praying: Psalm 27

My Macbook has a red indicator light that tells me when it's time to recharge it and I make it a point to do so in order to avoid discharging the battery and losing my files.  I also pay attention to my cellphone's battery level, so fearful am I of losing my network connection for even five minutes.  Even Ipods need recharging and cars need gasoline.  I have learned to diligently plug and recharge these inanimate attachments on a regular basis.

Would that I paid the same attention to my heart and my soul.  When I arrived at the Cenacle this afternoon, I could hear the soothing sound of the chirping of the birds and the rustling of the leaves from outside the gate.  I couldn't wait to get inside in order to breathe in some quietness.  I was a tired old soul when I pressed the buzzer.

I met the Lord inside, or really, He waited for me - at the Upper Room, at the chapel, at the garden, and at the Visitor's Room where I had my sessions with my spiritual directress.  She asked me what my heart was telling me.  I gave her the answers that I thought were right.  She said that she wasn't hearing what I really wanted.  It was all clouded by what others said was right or good for me.  (Even this post is filled with what she said to me, not what I said to her.  If I wrote in full what I felt, this would even be harder to read.)

I had trouble digging underneath all the rubble to find my heart and listen to it.  Earlier today, the priest said during homily that "We don't need the latest gadgets, or cars, or condominiums.  The deepest desire of the human heart is love.  All we need is love."  So I asked him what I could do to find God's love.  He asked me what my heart was telling me.  There it is again, this business of listening to my heart.  I wanted him to simply tell me, to decide for me.  He said I already knew the answers but was just not paying attention.

To drive home the point, probably, tonight I was watching "Fine Living" on TV when the network advertisement said, "If you want to follow something, try that thing that's beating inside your chest."  Even a secular show was speaking to me.  That was clear.

A day isn't enough to hear this one out.  I have some idea of my heart's desires, but they are buried so deep that it would take a while to bring them to the fore.  And to believe that they could come true?  It is a lifelong process; an upward call; a work in progress. 

I wish reading Psalm 27 repeatedly, like I did today, would be enough comfort and strength.  I used to be like David, the writer of the Psalm - confident, faithful, and hopeful.  I have not always been this practical, mechanical, boring, and lazy person doing all her duties and shutting out all voices that sing of unspoken words and yearn for unexplored lands.

Sr. Susay invited me to listen to my heart, to pray this Psalm, and to rest.  I asked if I could stay at the Cenacle for as long as it took to do all that.  The reality was that work and life beckoned, and I could only promise to come back more regularly to rest my weary heart and refresh my tired soul.  

Psalm 27 was an old song in my heart, for "Hide Not Your Face" was based on this psalm, but reading it again took on new meaning, and brought about many questions of why I ceased to be like David, a man after God's own heart, and showed me how I was being pulled down by my fears.  

I pray now that those of us who will re-read this Psalm will be lifted up, to see the One who is calling us to rest in Him.  It is a prayer of faith amidst troubling times.  This is the English Standard Version, and I highlighted the verses that struck me during my half-day of prayer.

Psalm 27 (The Lord Is My Light and My Salvation)

Of David.

27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.

3 Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.

4 One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.

5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.

6 And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek.” 
9 Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!

10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the Lord will take me in.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.

13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!

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