[Because Denise was off yesterday and I was left to my own devices, I accidentally scheduled 2 posts today! Please read Nancy Jo’s wonderful piece below this one…]
This is a guest post by regular commenter Michelle
Earlier this week Paul Campbell at People for Others posted three short rules for maintaining our relationship with God. He wondered what rules other people might have. I hear “rule” and think “rule of life” — I’ve spent a long time praying with the Augustinians and I fear it shows. Years ago, the Augustinian who was my spiritual director encouraged me to write my own “rule of life.” A whole rule? I was too intimidated to try. Two decades later, I can sum up my rule of life and right relationship with God in three words: Stop. Look. Listen.
Stop. When I’m on the move, I have to watch where I’m going; so I don’t trip over anything, so I know when I’ve arrived. But all this focus on where I’m going too often reduces my vision to a tunnel. “Be still and know that I am God.” All around me.
Look. When I don’t have to watch where I’m going, I can notice what is around me. Stopping lets me see not only God before me, but God behind me, God beside me, God beneath my feet, God above me and — thankfully —God within me. (To take a page from St. Patrick.)
Listen. A friend who is a Sister of St. Joseph and a physicist once pointed out that sound is a touch, there is a direct physical connection between the source and the listener. Can I let God touch me? Can I allow the Word to touch my ears that I might hear; touch my lips, that I might speak His name in thanks and praise and petition; touch my heart that I might love; and touch my soul that my very being may grasp the image in which it was fashioned, the end for which I was created.
And I will admit that sometimes I get no further than “stop” before my to-do list starts snapping at my ankles. But I take heart in Abba Bessiaron’s wise advice from the 4th century. There is no need to cling. God is here, God is everywhere. Even when I’m not looking.