As we prepare to enter into silence for the weekend on our annual Spiritual Exercises–a powerful spiritual experience for everyone who attends–we begin to peel away at the thick layers of our daily lives that have been dipped in the glue of social media and applied in layers around our hearts like a paper mache. The needs of our family, our work, and just taking basic care of ourselves can, over time, build a fortress around our hearts that may have been intended to be “protective” to ourselves so we can just keep going. While intending to protect ourselves from the vulnerability of it all, we may actually barricade ourselves from loving others the way we should. In order to prevent this from happening, we must rely on the endless mercy of Christ that we should draw from on a daily basis through deep prayer. Even though I am aware of this critical understanding, I can treat my soul with the same neglect that I sometimes do with taking care of the rest of my own needs, including my body; putting it aside because someone else needs my attention.
Prayer and Body Go Hand in Hand
Today, as I was preparing for a talk on prayer (that will take place after this weekend’s retreat) I was directed toward Tony Jesse’s blog post on the power of prayer. He directs us to another story about the healing power of prayer, even in the case of a Downs Syndrome child. He goes on to state the difference between meditation and prayer in his article on prayer, as well as cite another article on the health benefits prayer and meditation, all while distinguishing between the two.
The Eternal Well of Wellness
Recently at a workshop at our church with Dan Burke, he too made the essential distinction between meditation and prayer. He explained that the practice of some kinds of yoga and eastern meditations are not conducive to the Christian spirituality because it consists of “creating a space” or a “hole” in the spirit mind. This can present a danger to the soul when the spirit is open to anything. There are also meditations that focus on self as the ideal; that self is the means to the end.
Prayer, on the other hand, calls on the endless font of God’s mercy. It is grace upon grace, poured out through The Holy Spirit. Our spirit draws on the strength of the Creator. It is other-centered; love-centered; and God-centered.
As I set my eyes upon the crucifix in that beautiful chapel at the retreat center this coming week, I will be making room in my heart for Jesus; my focus will be on Christ. My own breathing, well-being, peace, presence, and balance will be in within the relationship of my Creator and Redeemer; not seeking wellness from a dry well of self; but from the WELL that never runs dry–Infinite Love. I am an earthen vessel made to glorify the Lord. I am a temple of the Holy Spirit, and that requires taking care of myself, mind, body and soul.
Let us recall that our souls live on forever; are we giving them that ratio of time to which we spend developing our bodies which are important but temporary?
What are ways we can worship God with our mind, body and soul? (Soul Core, a walk, canoeing, a hike?)