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A Surrendering Love
A Surrendering Love

A Surrendering Love: Weekly Summary

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Trust the down, and God will take care of the up. This leaves humanity in solidarity with the life cycle, but also with one another, with no need to create success stories for itself, or to create failure stories for others. —Richard Rohr

The only way I know how to teach anyone to love God, and how I myself seek to love God, is to love what God loves, which is everything and everyone, including you and including me! —Richard Rohr 

We belong to a mutually beneficial web of connection, well-being, and love. At the root of this connection is empathy; the result is kindness, compassion, respect, and understanding. When religion doesn’t center on this mutuality, it can become one of the toxic narratives that, in the end, dismantles self-love. —Jacqui Lewis 

Little by little, or vast area by vast area, my life must be transmuted in the life of God. As this happens, I come into the meaning of true freedom and the burdens that I seemed unable to bear are floated in the current of the life and love of God.
—Howard Thurman

God does not hold back and wait until we get things right; rather, God loves us where we are and as we are. In the Incarnation, divine love has found us and has surrendered to us. —Ilia Delio 

If we, who would be his disciples, recall the night before Jesus died, we are led to a table, from a table to a garden, from a garden to a courtyard, from a courtyard to a hill, from a hill to a grave, from a grave to life. The table holds the self-gift of his very flesh and blood; the garden is watered by his tears and blood; and the cross holds him, even as the One whom he knows and loves lifts him up from the grave to release him into the surprise of hope and life. —M. Shawn Copeland 

Welcoming Prayer

Father Richard recommends the Welcoming Prayer as a practice to help us surrender to God, Reality, and Love with each moment:  

Spiritual teacher Mary Mrozowski (1926–1993) composed and first taught what is now called the Welcoming Prayer, which many have found to be life-changing. The Welcoming Prayer helps us find serenity through surrender in the midst of messy, ordinary moments. When feeling triggered or caught by something unpleasant, begin by simply being present to your feeling, experiencing it not just mentally, but also emotionally and physically. Don’t try to rationalize or explain the feeling, but witness and give attention to this sensation. Welcome the feeling, speaking aloud, if you can: “Welcome, [anger, fear, hunger, longing, etc.].” [1] Repeat this as many times as you need to truly sense yourself embracing and receiving the feeling. Some people pray the Welcoming Prayer regularly—even daily is probably not too much! Popularized by my dear friend and mentor, the late Thomas Keating (1923–2018), it is this simple and this hard:  

Welcome, welcome, welcome.  

I welcome everything that comes to me today 

because I know it’s for my healing. 

I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, persons,  

situations, and conditions.  

I let go of my desire for power and control.  

I let go of my desire for affection, esteem, approval, and pleasure.  

I let go of my desire for survival and security.  

I let go of my desire to change any situation,  

condition, person, or myself.  

I open to the love and presence of God and God’s action within. Amen. [2]

Experience a version of this practice through video and sound.

[1] Cynthia Bourgeault has a chapter on the Welcoming Prayer in her book Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening (2004)On this point, she clarifies that “what you are welcoming is the physical or psychological content of the moment only, not a general blanket condoning of a situation. . . . What you are welcoming in this moment is not [the painful event itself], but the feelings the experience triggers for you: the fear or rage or shame on your plate right now” (p. 146).

[2] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Just This (Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2017), 117–118. 

Explore Further. . .

Image credit: Jenna Keiper, Leaves (detail), 2021, photograph, New Mexico, used with permission. Jenna Keiper, Christ Figure from the Office of Richard Rohr (detail), 2021, photograph, New Mexico, used with permission. Jenna Keiper, Web (detail), 2021, photograph, Washington, used with permission. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States.

This week’s images appear in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story. 

Image inspiration: Fallen leaves in water surrender to the cycles of seasons. A spider’s web catches and kills a passing fly. Can we surrender to these moments too? Death is an invitation to slip beyond the web of knowing. What might we find if we allowed the cycle of death and resurrection in our own lives?

Prayer for our community:

God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough,  because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Listen to the prayer.

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