“I so want this with all my heart amen” wrote one of my readers, SW, in October this year, in a comment on “The Promise of Isaiah.” She was expressing a deep longing for her whole self to be restored to the Lord and for living a purposeful life. Interestingly, that deep longing is the most essential ingredient in developing a deep, close relationship with the Lord.
This longing for our Source is built into us, but it needs to be awakened and realized, to be listened to and followed. To pay attention to the longing is to invite the Holy Spirit into our psyches. As we keep paying attention to the longing, the Spirit is able to heal and lead and draw us to our own true selves. As we continue paying attention to the longing and saying, “YES!” to it, we continue to move into a deeper and deeper relationship with the Lord.
The very same day the comment above was posted I received this from Fr. Richard Rohr: “It is all about the receiver—his humble readiness and her deep desire.” [Daily Email 10/16/14.] Readiness and deep desire to follow the longing for God translate into Jesus’ words to “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”[Luke 11:9] Our longing, our willingness, our readiness to follow our deep desire will lead us where we want most to go.
It’s not that we will ever know how to realize what our longing draws us to. We are always in a position of not knowing. But paying attention to our longing will signal to the Holy Spirit that we are ready to begin on the journey. If we continue to listen to the longing within us, we will continually, step by step, draw closer to the Lord, and give the Holy Spirit more and more access to our deeper selves, especially where our guilt and shame reside in us. It’s our perseverance, our willingness, our never giving up—all based on that deep desire, that insures that the Lord will respond to us and heal us. We are signaling that we want to have ears to hear and eyes[Matthew 11:15, 13:9, Mark 4:9, 4:23, Luke 8:8] to see the kingdom that Jesus came to preach about. We are signaling that we get “it” even when we have no idea of what the “it” is beyond just loving God.
Every time we affirm our willingness, our readiness even, to go where God would take us, every time we set aside our own expectations and assumptions about how life should be, we are hearing and seeing with new eyes, not with the cultural assumptions. Those new eyes will reaffirm our sticking to God’s program/curriculum for us. We will hear the truth in the parable, the love in the message; we will hear God’s voice in the midst of the clamor. We will get “it!” and the “it” we get is love, God’s love for us and our love for God and the whole universe, including everybody we meet.
Our part is to follow our yearning, longing heart right into God’s arms. His part is to transform us of all that doesn’t belong to us, of all that was not there in his creation of us. Then as our own true selves, as we were created to be, we do what we are designed to do. In our own unique way we are to help bring in the kingdom here on earth and to do it with love.
In that same daily email, Richard Rohr writes this: “What you seek is what you are going to get. What you expect is what you will call forth and recognize.” [Fr. Richard Rohr’s Daily email of 10.16.14] It’s a matter of focus and attention. When you start your day with your longing for your Source, when you keep your inner eye and ear attuned to his presence during your day, when you acknowledge all the blessings and grace he is pouring out in your life, then you are given what you have asked and prayed for. Jesus says it this way: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened.”[Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9]
So to SW and to all of us: listen to your own longing which comes from your deep soul-self; listen to the “still, small voice within.” Go beneath the surface busyness and noise to the essence of who you are. Find yourself there with God’s help. Hear your call there. Find your home there. Be yourself, do what you are designed and called to do. Do it with love. Bring in the kingdom here on earth.
Questions to ponder over the week: Will I follow my deep longing and desire for God wherever it takes me? Am I willing and ready to go further on this journey? Have I even acknowledged this built-in longing?
Check out this video and others on YouTube: “Does the Gospel Serve our Purposes or Do We Serve the Gospel? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wryesgONNXQ
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