“Insights are a dime a dozen,” Father Richard explained to the small gathering of spiritual directors last Sunday afternoon. “It doesn’t matter so much what an experience in prayer means; what matters is that we stay with God in it.”
Relief washed over me as I thought about my own life. It didn’t matter why I was feeling ambivalent about Christmas. What would I gain from knowing anyway? I’d only end up blaming myself or trying to fix something I can’t. Insight is overrated. I know all the reasons why I overeat, but it doesn’t stop me from eating.
On Monday my Advent reading led me to Psalm 145:16, “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”
What a wild claim. All desires? Of every living thing?
I have a small clay sculpture of God’s hands with the holy family in it. Mary and Joseph are lying down on either side of baby Jesus. An angel kneels at Jesus’ head and a donkey is so close to Mary’s ear, she can feel his breath on her neck. The donkey, angel, and parents rest in God’s hands, the desire of their hearts fulfilled.
I held God’s open hands in mine and imagined myself there.
God, you don’t satisfy me by opening your hands and giving me what I want. You open your hands and invite me–and every living thing–to crawl into them. And there we rest satisfied.
And so I rest in God with God, and all my desires rest too.
Advent Reflection Question:
- What image, texture or sound invites you into God’s hands?
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Seventeen years ago my brother Ron, who lives in Minnesota, spent Christmas with us and offered Fred a gift that would satisfy a deep longing. Fred received that gift the following May when Ron returned again. He and Fred checked into St. Paul’s hospital: Ron the donor, Fred the recipient of one of my brother’s kidneys. “It was a big deal,” I told him afterwards, but my brother couldn’t resist an opportunity to make us laugh. “Not really,” he said. “I gave him the pissy one.”