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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pilgrims Who Struggle With the Journey

“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe!, plans to give you a future full of hope.”
(Jeremiah 29:11, NAB)

Today my heart feels a little empty, no particular thoughts or worry…just emptiness and quiet…simply from just being human, I guess.

This sort of feeling, I reckon, comes about when we face freedom’s choices and we are not at all certain about what the right course will be, either for ourselves, our families, our children or for others.  This feeling may also come about as a consequence of an earlier choice made.

Uncertainties are a constant part of people and events.  For instance, part of the pain of life, for parents, lies in the fact that they cannot always protect their children from life, nor suffer it in their place.

“How do I know I am doing the right thing?”  Under various circumstances, every one of us prays but sometimes, still struggle to understand whether we are being moved by the Spirit or by some inner whirlwind within ourselves.

Throughout our journey through life, we realize that it is a continuing challenge to sift the gold of inspiration from the gravel of impulse.  Nevertheless, as human beings, we must keep on choosing about ourselves and our life.

Ultimately, as most of us will find out, we must answer for ourselves and accept the consequences.  Life will still continue to go on…

Here is a prayer simply taken from the book, ‘Praying Our Goodbyes’ by Sister Joyce Rupp, osm, which I find comforting…

“Pilgrim God, there is an exodus going on in my life – desert stretches, a vast land of questions.  Inside my heart, your promises tumble and turn.  No pillar of cloud by day or fire by night that I can see.

My heart hurts at leaving loved ones and so much of the security I have known.  I try to give in to the stretching and the pain. It is hard, God, and I want to be settled, secure, safe and sure.  And here I am feeling so full of pilgrim’s fear and anxiety.

O God of the journey, lift me up, press me against your cheek.  Let your great love hold me and create a deep trust in me.  Then set me down, God of the journey; take my hand in yours, and guide me ever so gently across the new territory of my life.

God of my life, create in me the heart of a pilgrim.  There is a part of me that fights letting go.  Do not allow me to become so rooted or so accustomed to my daily tasks and inner securities, that I miss your voice calling me to greater growth and deeper maturity in faith.  I want to hoard my blessings, to hang onto my gifts, to hide my talents and the blessings of my life,

I want to take them out, one by one, only when I know that it is safe and I won’t get hurt or emptied.  Stir afire in me such a great love for you and your people that I will constantly celebrate life and appreciate its beauty, even when it is painful.

Allow me to “see visions and dream dreams” so that I can live with your vision and not be overwhelmed by the struggles of the journey.  God of the Exodus, I know you are near.

Grant me the courage to change, whether that change is an inner or outer one.  Deepen my awareness of your faithful presence and bless my pilgrim heart.  Amen.”

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