The Love God Lavishly Bestows on Us
WISDOM OF THE DESERT — Chapter 4
Aug 13 · 6 min read
A Prayer that I use that was edited by Father Carl Arico
PRAYER OF ABANDONMENT
I abandon myself into your hands
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you;
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures;
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all my heart;
For I love you, Lord
And so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
And with boundless confidence,
I consent to your divine
presence and action
in my life,
for you are my Father.
By: Charles de Foucald
Text in italics added by Father Carl Arico
(I double space the prayers I type so that I can add my own notes and I try to start a new line when it appears to be a new thought.)
Charles Eugene de Foucauld, Viscount of Foucauld was born on September 15, 1858, in Strasbourg, France. He was orphaned at age 6. He rejected the Catholic faith as a teenager. He was living with his devout grandfather who raised him. He joined the French army. Later he was an explorer and then a Catholic priest. Later he became a hermit in the Sahara Desert of Algeria among the Taureg.
He was known for living out his Prayer of Abandonment. He founded a new religious group Little Brothers and Sisters of Jesus to live out his prayer. A roving band of tribesman took his life on December 1, 1916.
You will find many prayers on this site for every occasion. For instance, St. Teresa of Avila was a major influence in Contemplative Prayer. Her emphasis on friendship with Jesus is a major component of her teachings.
Another prayer is on Contemplative Prayer for busy people.
Under the topic of Lent, there is a video by Sherwood Fellows in which the key themes of Lent are explored: the mystery of sin, temptation, and transformation through a journey into the desert, the way of repentance and prayer.”
If you have the time and inclination this site is a treasure trove for prayers.
Another reading that reassures my spirit when troubled is from a favorite pastor, Father Dr. Dick E. Hamlin, Hamlin’s Horizon Ministries.
He has promised to be with us. (Matthew 28:20)
He has promised to uphold us. (Luke 6:47–48)
He has promised to grant us victory over the powers of darkness. (Matthew 15:18)
Above all, He has promised to come and take us to Himself in eternity. (John 14:3)
“Dr. Martin Luther once defined faith as “a lively, reckless confidence in the goodness of God!”
The forward to “A Taste of Silence” was written by the founder of Food for the Poor, Ferdinand G. Mahfood.
He wants those of us about to embark on exploring Centering Prayer to recognize that it is “a life-changing tool for our modern lives.”
He commends this scripture: “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23). “This is the whole purpose of Centering Prayer.”
In the Introduction, Father Arico describes how he became interested in Centering Prayer and his work with Contemplative Outreach, the network for Centering Prayer. He came to understand how powerful Centering Prayer is because “it is a container for my consenting to not only God’s presence in my life, but also God’s action in my life.”
He identifies those interested in Contemplative prayer. “While we are formed by our respective denominations, we are united in our common search for God and the experience of living Christ through Centering Prayer.”
He relates the story of a student studying the Torah. “The student went to his teacher and said “I have gone through the Torah, what is next? The teacher replied, “Next is to let the Torah go thru you.”
For us, the next step will be the ancient tradition of Lectio Divina or praying the Scriptures. A person can say they have a prayer life but are they “alive in their prayer life?”
Remember Jesus said, “Those that have eyes to see will see, and those who have ears to hear will hear?” “Our prayers cry for improved hearing and seeing. Don’t be surprised by what you will see and hear.”
Father Arico relates that he finds Father Armand Niro's description of prayer exciting: “Prayer is principally God’s work, God’s gift. When we are conscious of God’s presence, of God being in and around us, we are in prayer. In prayer, we are not called to support or enrich God but to be strengthened by God.”
“Notice how the focus is not on our efforts but on the activity of God. God is initiating the encounter. It is being done for our good, not his.”
“In prayer, we are called to let go of control of our lives into God’s hands-to relax and be with God, letting God be with us communicating in any way he prefers.”
“God is the loving God of the Universe, the Lord of History. Awareness of God’s presence enables us to see all things as relating to God.”
When we look at our prayer life do we become more aware of God?
Do we go into our prayer thinking about doing something holy and after thinking are done we are gone to do some survival stuff, like paying bills, painting the garage and all sorts of things?
Father Arico says “this is a bad split of God’s world.” We answered the catechism question “Where is God?” “God is everywhere.” Do we really believe that?
“Prayer itself is God’s work and God’s gift to us.” “Do we use our eyes to see and our ears to hear how the Lord is working in our lives?”
Two new words, kataphatic and apophatic. These are two approaches to prayer.
Kataphic is the one we know because it is made up of words, concepts, images, and resolutions. “When we pray, we pay attention to what we pray, we examine our conscience, we resolve to do better, we acknowledge our faults, and then we go out and try to live what we prayed.”
The apophatic tradition “means to mention something by saying what the object is “not”. This tradition tends to be speechless, to be wordless. “It senses speech as helpless to describe God as the eyes are helpless to look into the sun. This is the approach of surrender to the infinite, of losing one’s center to find it. This is the approach of surrender, of receptivity on the deepest level.”
“This tradition emphasizes the radical differences that exist between God and us. God is best reached by forgetting, by unknowing, without support of concepts, images or symbols.”
No matter what I use, my words cannot really capture the who and what of God. “In the end all I can do is rest in God’s presence, be in God’s presence, surrender to God — God who is beyond all my speculations.”
“We know what God is not, more than what God is. Our mind becomes dark, without the support of images, concepts or symbols.”
“Two great witnesses of this tradition are the author of “The Cloud of Unknowing” and St. John of the Cross. Thomas Merton also stands largely in this tradition.”
These traditions, in my mind, do not stand in opposition to one another. We use both in our approach to God. But using both together we can create a more complete picture of prayer.
“The apophatic approach encourages us to release the limiting images, which limit our prayer life. The kataphatic tradition points out we have to have images to drop, we have to have the knowledge to go beyond it.”
We can use both. In the kataphatic approach, we use Lectio Divina (praying Scripture). In the apophatic approach we use Centering Prayer (Contemplative Prayer).
Next time we will begin examining Father Carl Arico’s thoughts on contemplation and Lectio Divina.
Thanks for joining me.
Retired, I write 4 blogs. I just started an author’s blog (I think that is what it is called) and Medium.com. The title of my author’s blog is craigmartineauwrites.com.