“Prayer is the light of the spirit, and the spirit, raised up to heaven by prayer, clings to God with the utmost tenderness. Like a child crying tearfully for its mother, it craves the milk that God provides. Prayer also stands before God as an honored ambassador. It gives joy to the spirit, peace to the heart. I speak of prayer, not words. It is the longing for God, love too deep for words, a gift not given by humans, but by God’s grace.”—John Chrysostom
I was looking again, today, at a photo of my nephew and his granddaughter that I have in my office. Once again, it drew me into a deep silence and unspeakable yearning. I wrote a meditation on this photo about two years ago, but it seems to fit where I am today, too, so I’ll repeat it with some modifications.
I love this picture of my nephew….and his granddaughter….. Something about it touches my heart and I can feel the longing and love between them. There is a mystical quality about the light in the room as well, almost as if the sunbeams are bouncing off particles and dancing around the room which is filled with the Presence of God. I love the little heart that is superimposed on the picture. The love between the two is all that is known in this moment. She has come for a visit and will go home, back east, in a day or two. There is deep sadness here that I also sense. This moment of love and embrace is suspended outside of time and I feel tears in my eyes when I think of the parting that will come.
I am reminded of the Soul and God when I look at this. I am reminded of prayer. It reminds me of being held in Jesus’ arms when words are not necessary. Only love. Only trust. The soul is safe where it belongs and God, while holding her, knows the love and feels the pain of the separation that will come when she leaves this time of embrace. He does not want her to go even though he knows that she will. The soul will also feel the separation when she is not in his arms.
As I sit here today, I can feel the yearning hunger deep within me. I realize that it is not just any hunger. It’s not just my hunger for God that I feel, but God’s hunger and yearning for me as well. And God’s hunger for you. Why do we ever leave this intimate embrace? Why do we even try to fill the longing with things rather than with God? I don’t really know the answers, I only know that we do both. I only know that I do.
A song runs through my mind that tells of this desire of the soul. It dances around the room with the light of God. The words are:
“Come down, O Love divine, seek thou this soul of mine, and visit it with thine own ardor glowing; O comforter, draw near, within my heart appear, and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.
“O let it freely burn, till earthly passions turn to dust and ashes in its heat consuming; and let thy glorious light shine ever on my sight, and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.
“And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long, shall far out-pass the power of human telling; for none can guess its grace, till Love create a place where in the Holy Spirit makes a dwelling.”—HYMNBOOK 1982
May you be blessed with yearning strong this day. ~ Donna