When life changes
This exercise helps us to reflect on a time of change in our lives.
I name this time of change. It might be emerging from a Covid lockdown, a new job, retirement, a new baby. Maybe it is a difficult transition from health to sickness, or marriage to widowhood. It might be the need for a shift in myself where to move from worry or procrastination or unforgiveness (or something else) to something more life-giving. This prayer trusts that God is already at work for good in my life.
I might write as I pray, or express this time through drawing or another way, if helpful. I settle into prayer in whatever way is helpful and take time to imagine myself with Jesus.
Jesus and I choose a place to be as we settle in to explore this particular time with kindness and curiosity. Then I imagine Jesus begins by speaking these words to me:
“After the Sabbath, and towards dawn on the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to visit the tomb. And all at once there was a violent earthquake, for the angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. His face was like lightning, his robe white as snow. The guards were so frightened of him that they were like dead men. But the angel spoke; and he said to the women, ‘There is no need to be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here for he has risen, as he said he would. Come and see the place where he lay, then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has risen from the dead and now is going before you; it is there you will see him”. Now I have told you. Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.”
I hear Jesus say, ‘All this is only the beginnings of something being brought to life’ (Matthew 24: 8). I notice any feelings that arise as I hear Jesus speaking of this time of transition for him.
I imagine Jesus inviting my gaze towards the angel in this story, the one who not only witnesses the beginnings of something being brought to life, but participates in bringing it about. I look with curiosity.
I notice that the stone, which the angel moved and now sits on, had been lying at the precise place where new life began. With the stone rolled away, Jesus, once laid in the tomb, steps out alive. I imagine that moment. I might ask Jesus about that? How did that feel?
Now the focus turns towards me as Jesus asks about this time of change in my life.
Together we become curious about how God is acting on my behalf. So we begin to notice the messengers that speak of God’s goodness, kindness and love, acting as angels in my life.
I ponder these ‘angels’ in my imagination; these messengers of God’s love. Maybe I imagine them as a form of brightness, an unexpected support, a trusted companion, beauty in nature, a surprising event or something else.
What might these ‘angels’ want to show me at this time? How am I receiving these messages? I ponder these questions:
- What feels possible now?
- Is there something needing to be rolled away? Transformed? Unblocked?
- Right now, who or what feels like a brightness, an energy, a support, a gift?
- What feels more important now? And less important?
Jesus and I talk together. I ask him how he might answer these questions about me; I listen carefully to his answers. What might Jesus want me to see; to know?
I notice my feelings at different points. I name each feeling and meet it with acceptance, kindness and curiosity.
I breathe in the good already at work in my life and the ‘angels’ I have noticed. I ponder how I can cooperate with the good and speak with Jesus as a trusted friend.
Finally, I relax and settle into stillness knowing that I can rest, be at peace, feel secure in the presence of Jesus. I hear again the words:
‘There is no need to be afraid’
‘All this is only the beginnings of something being brought to life’.
I breath in these words and let them flow through me (maybe over and over).
I give thanks for whatever I have experienced and bring my prayer to a close.
After Prayer, perhaps with a cup of tea, I spend time reflecting on my prayer. I use the questions below that are helpful and leave the rest. I might add my own.
- How do I sense life stirring now?
- How do I feel now? How can I describe that feeling in more detail (even if I feel nothing)?
- What feels important, curious, hope-filled, lit up, new or beckoning for attention?
- In this prayer I might have come across something which is difficult. What would it be like to bring my curiosity to this with Jesus, with expectancy?
- What is happening in me now?
- Is there anything I would like to ask Jesus for?
- Are there any practical steps that suggest themselves at this point? If not, that’s OK too.
Written by Judith Irving and Inge Wilson, St Beuno's Jesuit Spirituality Centre.
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