Prayer, both liturgical and private is an integral part of my daily life as a Dominican Sister of Peace. As I have grown in prayer, I have found Lectio Divina – holy reading and reflection upon the scripture – to be a particularly fruitful one for me. Here I would like to share my reflection upon today’s first reading.
“I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts.” Ezekiel 36:26
When I have read and prayed with this scripture, I have felt God touching my heart and softening it, making it less stony and more natural or new. One such time, I was praying to forgive someone who had wounded me deeply when I felt God asking me, “Why are you holding onto your stony heart so tightly when I want to give you a new one?” I replied, “Because…my stony heart can’t feel the hurt as much and I don’t really want to feel the pain.” I was surprised at my answer that had risen from within me without my conscious effort. It made me take a deep breath and then I heard God say to me, “Keep breathing and when you are ready, I will be with you.”
I wasn’t ready that day to let go of my pain, but as I prayed each day, I felt a gradual loosening of my grip upon my stony heart…until one day I realized that I was no longer holding onto it. I don’t remember letting go of it, but I had. Then, God was able to lift this old heavy heart from me and gave me a new one.
Yes, this new heart feels more pain than my stony one did. It also feels joy, love, and peace more deeply. I didn’t realize how much I was missing. Thank you God for loving me and waiting for me to be ready to let go.
“I will put my spirit within you and make you live. . .” Ez 36:27
What is keeping you from letting go of your stony heart?
Bring it to God . . . let God lift it from you . . . when you are ready.
Come close to God and God will come close to you.
“To contemplate and to share with others the fruits of our contemplation” is one of our Dominican mottos. In community, we often take time for Lectio Divina and the sharing of the fruits of our prayer with each other. When we are together in this way, it is then that I feel the profound grace and depth of life in community. What a blessing it is to live as a religious sister – as a Dominican Sister of Peace. I give thanks to God that I was called and that I said “Yes!”