Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Desiring God

"Your desire is your prayer; and if your desire is without ceasing, your prayer will also be without ceasing. The continuance of your longing is the continuance of your prayer." St. Augustine

The Lord always wants to stir up our desire for him, and perhaps most of all to stir up our confidence in his desire to share all that he is, all that he has with us. Our confidence in his desire is so essential. The God who is at once totally available and at the same time altogether beyond our reach, draws us into the mystery that he is; draws us into himself. For God in Christ is always moving toward us. "His desire gives rise to yours," says Saint Bernard, "and if you are eager to receive him, it is he who is rushing to enter your heart; for he first loved us, not we him." Jesus enfleshes this towardness of God -  going out of himself, rushing toward us as he seeks to captivates us with the “spell of his love and his desire.”1

Imagine then the awesome daring of our prayer- we hope, we believe that we can be intimate with the living God- we have built our lives around this. And we know that this desire, this reaching out toward God, is possible only because of God’s desire in the first place. Best of all God’s most tender desire for communion with us has taken flesh in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus is God’s desire for us coming toward us moment by moment across the depths of otherness. Jesus is the Bridge, our Bridge to the Father. And to have the gumption to pray at all we must, like Peter walking across the water, allow our foolish overreaching desire to trump the imbalance of reality- our puny humanity vs. his sublime divinity. What prudence would surely caution against, we do when we dare to pray. And it is awesome to say the least.

Jesus' desire for communion with us teaches us confidence, fiducia for St. Bernard. For within our very bones, our guts, planted there by the invisible, unfathomable, living God is our capacity, our natural need and longing for God, indeed, for an intimacy and union that is our rightful possession. We are built for it, built for Jesus, Jesus whose name means  “God saves, God frees."2 In Christ  Jesus God is constantly giving us himself, his very life, “that life that flows in abundance from his pierced side, from his empty tomb."3 If indeed God in Christ is constantly coming toward us, constant in his desire for us, how shall we respond?

1 Dionysius the Aeropagite, The Divine Names, IV in Olivier Clément, The Roots of Christian Mysticism, 22.
2 Olivier Clément, The Roots of Christian Mysticism, 238.
3 Ibid, 238.