by Catherine Doherty.
To me, prayer has always been a matter of listening. All my life, I have desired passionately to listen to God. When I was a little girl, I used to run in the low hills which were covered with wild flowers.
My mother would say to me, "Where have you been?" and I would answer, "In the hills."
"What were you doing?" she wanted to know.
"I was listening to God." "How did you listen to him?"
"Oh, it’s very simple," I said. "You just lie down, and the wind goes through the wildflowers, and they bend back and forth, and God speaks."
Of course, I was little then, and my imagination was vivid. But if you keep listening to God, one day you will see him, and this is what makes it an adventure.
Now I get up in the morning, and I begin to listen as I move through the day. As I do so, a tremendous peace comes upon me.
I dictate letters, I sort donations, I look at books, I talk with members of the community and with visitors.
Sometimes people are not feeling up to par, and there is anger and irritation, and the voices become a cacophony that rolls over me like thunder.
But I smile and listen, and answers come because somewhere deep, deep within, I have peace, God’s peace.
In the midst of the turmoil around me, this inner listening brings peace. On a human level, I might be as mad as a hatter at the things that are going on, but it is like a storm over an ocean. Fifty fathoms down, everything is calm.
People are like that. The storm can rage, but as long as there is peace beneath it, all is well. It is a way of participating in the sufferings of Christ. He, too, must have had some pretty stormy days, living with those twelve rough fishermen.
There is a tremendous joy in all this. Just think of it! At a given moment in time—for an instant—this wind comes swooping to take you into the inner heart of that fire we have been talking about. It doesn’t burn you, doesn’t scorch you. It is warm, tender, caressing, and you emerge from that fire cleaned.
You forget about your inadequacies and weaknesses, because you know they don’t matter to God. He doesn’t care if you’re not perfect. He simply wants you to come into that fire to love him, to merge your love with his, until you yourself become part of that fire, until everything is ignited by those sparks.
"I have come to bring fire on the earth", he said, "and oh, how I wish it were blazing already!" (Lk 12:49)
—Excerpted from Soul of My Soul, pp. 54-55, (1985), available from MH Publications.
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