Heavenly Father, I have been thinking a lot
about the earlier years of my life.
Thanks to your healing grace, wonderful,
it all appears to me bathed in radiant light.
There is sin and foolishness, it is true,
but in all things, God, there is your guiding hand.
From my youthful blindness, eyes opening,
to the years of darkness when I learned to see,
until this day, in your pure love, Father,
you have never ceased to guide and to embrace.
And I know, in the certainty of faith,
that this moment, here and now,
is no different from all the rest,
yet unique and full of meaning, all its own.
The light of the past allows us, Father,
to walk through the darkness of the present, full of hope,
and, indeed, the darkness of the past, beginning to shine,
allows us to understand that darkness is not the end.
Groping through the valley of the shadow of death,
seeing no more than the next step, and often less,
is not such a bad thing, but quite the opposite.
Of course, the heart yearns, rightly, for more,
since you made us, God, for fullness of light,
for the blissful joy of perfect, open embrace.
But this embrace is already alive, you teach me,
in the obscurity of this nocturnal journey,
filtering in, beautiful, through the glimmers of light,
the moon reflecting on the valley walls,
the stars glimmering above, singing their song.
And I find, both then and now, that darkness itself,
through the healing hand of grace, only gives birth to light,
since, from the beginning, it is enfolded in light to start.
The pain of repentance, contrition rending the heart
like a rock split in two, simply allows it to gush forth
with the beauty of healing tears, the joy of forgiveness.
And even the shame and sense of poverty that remains
at the awareness of my neediness and my lack of sight
only opens my heart more to receive your gift,
to step beyond the comfort of my prideful self
and to depend upon you in simple, childlike trust.
This takes time, however—though present and at work,
mysteriously, in every moment—to be brought about.
The heart receives the gift given by you instantaneously,
only over time, little by little, penetrating and healing the soul.
A glimpse back on the past, leading back to the present,
where I let go of both past and future, dwelling here, now,
allows me to simply trust, like a little child,
in your unceasing work of love in the midst of all things.
I do not grasp and try to control, panicking at my littleness,
or even, it is true, at the emotions which surge up within.
For I am deeper than the emotions of my fragmentation,
not yet fully healed and integrated, giving proper response.
The gentle divine training, alive in my life,
is what has been, and will, continually lead me
to respond, in every moment, to the truth that there is,
really, in each and every thing, every person, myself,
and above all, my God, in you, within and above all things.
A beautiful thing, my Father, that I clearly see,
in the midst of the darkness through which my heart can pass,
is that, not only is the future an invitation to live, now,
but the past too is a call to abide in this moment, full of love.
At the moment, often, the moment’s meaning is hidden from our eyes,
and only afterwards, looking back, do we see
that it radiated with a strange light, beautiful,
and becomes a source of contemplation over time.
Yet it is not an invitation to mere nostalgia, my God,
for, in you, past, present, and future are all united and alive,
and you offer us, not in what was or will be, but in this instant,
a participation in your eternity, your all-enfolding life.
Yet to allow the grace of the past to re-surge
into the present through love and gratitude,
is in a way to hear the call anew, to receive the gift,
and to start out on the path of love like at the first.
In my own particular case, loving Father, my God,
my mind and heart are brought back, again,
to the times of such profound solitude and inner silence,
to the profound poverty and interior thirst
that I bore within so deeply, over the years.
You have, I see, led me to a better and truer state,
for you drew me, gently, back to the wellspring of childhood.
I was often so immersed in the pain of contradiction,
in the anguish of search and desire for something more,
that I lost the reality of pure and gratuitous love
…but indeed, I was still walking towards it,
which you wanted to reveal to me, as the fruit of this journey,
yet even more deeply, as your pure gift,
always welling up, unceasingly, within,
even if I was not aware that it was, in such a way, there.
Yet now, having drawn me up, so deeply,
into your all enfolding, cherishing arms,
fashioning in me, wonderfully, what has always been there,
allowing the inner truth to come to light
and to spread out, like a flower blossoming,
to penetrate and to enfold my heart and my mind,
you also reawaken the grace of the past,
which, also, has never really ceased to be.
When I hear it and feel it now, my God,
it is not indeed the grace of the past alone,
but now, since it comes as a gift from you,
it is the grace of the present, springing up within,
and the response it awakens is the unique one given,
unrepeatable, by my heart as it is in this moment.
I have expressed this before, Father,
as the Circle enfolding me, pure and gratuitous,
and from this seeking to draw the lines of the Cross
across the diameter of the Circle, making a Host.
I perhaps have never found so clear a way
of expressing, in an image, my experience.
But now, Father, an image is only a sacrament,
a bearer of interior grace and understanding,
just as the words of poetry and the lines of art
only seek to express something known in silence,
deeper than images, alive within life,
incarnate in the flesh, the heartbeat within,
the flowing reality of here-and-now truth.
So let it be, Father, what already is,
let it be, the seed that seeks to sprout and grow,
let it be, the call of Love to love, more deeply,
enfolding as pure gift, awakening gift in response.
Open my eyes, my heart, and my flesh,
to receive and to contemplate, anew, Father,
the gift of the Crucified One upon the Cross,
to feel and accept in myself the gift of his Love,
allowing this gift to fashion me, in all that I am,
the same image of love, open in the form of a cross,
touching the Circle, receiving everything from this,
and in this All of pure Love, embracing also
each of my brothers and sisters, aflame with compassion,
with vulnerable acceptance and tenderest gift.
Every moment, it is true, bears more than I see,
so full of abundant meaning and of richest grace,
and the beautiful mystery is that poverty, alone,
with open and empty hands, in the form of a cross,
receives such fullness without losing anything.
This is the case because all that it receives, it gives,
and all that it gives, it receives, for it is enfolded,
without ceasing, in the dimension of pure Gift,
where acceptance of the pure grace of everything
is the ever flowing source from which all things flow,
and to which, loving Father, they unceasingly return.