See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! . . . open wide your hearts. (2 Corinthians 6:2, 13)
He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. (Mark 4:39)
Beyond the various leagues of youth soccer there are several additional leagues, pro leagues. Teresa identifies three more mansions, leading up to spiritual marriage. If you want to hear more about them, go read the Interior Castle. But as for you: pray. Meditate. Deny yourself. Take up the cross. Listen to Jesus’ instruction. Follow. Persevere. If you have submitted yourself as a child, God will care for you as Father.
Your prayer and meditation will take many forms and vary from day to day and hour to hour. At times you may be overwhelmed. At other times you may be lost in the desert, utterly without water. But when you feel devotion in yourself quieting your heart and mind,
- Shut the door to your room
- Remember your love of God and your commitment to him
- Quiet your body and mind and heart
- Speak no words, even of love
- Attend completely to God
- Embrace God with one desire
Peace. Be still and know I am.
If you can, carry this spirit of peace and of desire with you throughout the day. The needs of the day will battle against your peace. When your peace has almost expired, go back to your room to heal and recharge, preparing for another battle of peace. In this way you can spread peace around you. Blessed are the peacemakers.
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Some people get nervous about listening in prayer. What if I am listening to the wrong voice? Will I go off the deep end? Will I no longer have control over myself? But the notion that not listening is safer is an illusion. Everyone is listening to something. The world is always the wrong voice to listen to. And if you are constantly talking, you can only listen to yourself. That is also the wrong voice. Will you trust those around you more than you trust God himself? The Israelites insisted on having Moses speak to them because God was too frightening—but they went astray.
There is some desire that drives every person, for each one a goal they are seeking. Let it be a worthy goal. The only worthy goal. Only Jesus leads safely through the valley of the shadow of death. His sheep know his voice. All mortal flesh must keep silence to hear it, with fear and trembling draw near.
Your fear of listening is actually the resistance of the flesh to submission to God—the self saying “I insist on remaining in control of myself!” If you want to know Christ, if you want to hear him speak, you must conquer your fear and listen to him. To help conquer fear you can get advice from someone on the same road. Just ask.
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It is a long road that goes through many lands. Over the hour, over the days, over the years, you must persevere. When God is hidden, when you are in the desert, keep going. When God is near, when you think you have arrived, continue on the way. When God tests you, do your best to struggle on. When God doesn’t seem to be testing you at all, when you wonder if he still loves you, even then you must persevere. Many turn back.
There are hardships along this road. Weariness, hunger, rough places, robbers. There are also beautiful vistas and places where you can rest and be fed and refreshed. You will pass over mountains and through valleys, beside lakes and through deserts. If you want to reach the goal, there is nothing for it but to keep walking.
Now is the acceptable time. Open wide your heart.
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you. The Lord give you peace.