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Posts Tagged ‘desire’


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

6648f45035a47efdafeee4d3f3f056e4_XL[1]Nehemiah 13

A Prayer for Willingness

True hope differs from waiting in that it expects the impossible to become possible through our petition and in God’s action.  Today we might reflect on a mirror image to hope and conversion that we pondered yesterday: the juxtaposition of willingness and desire.  It is this willingness – rather than our desire – that refines us as faithful.  It is this willingness – and not mere desire – that marks us as God’s disciples.

But what might we gain, we ask ourselves, from being willing rather than willful?

Perhaps it is our willingness that God nurtures patiently, waiting for our readiness to participate fully in God through Christ.  Perhaps it is this measure of willingness that indicates our full and ready understanding of who God is and why we are created in God’s image.   Perhaps is it our willingness to withstand any difficulty, our determination to be disciples of Christ that signals our preparedness to believe that God can truly make all things possible.  Do we desire to be with God but try to avoid all obstacles in our journey?  Or are we willing to travel the road, despite its roadblocks, in full willingness?

As we read about Nehemiah warning against stepping into alien and pagan territory and relationships, we might remember the Good Samaritan parable told by Jesus.  A man from Samaria, considered to be an outcast by the Jewish community, helps an injured traveler on the road to Jerusalem while the Levite, one who has special status in the Jewish community, keeps himself separate and pure.  As we mature from our Old Testament self who seeks to merely understand God and enter into our New Testament self to seek union with God we leave our desire behind . . . and we enter into willingness

We fully experience God’s presence when we give over our human desire of wishing for the end result through expedient or easy means, when we surrender our willfulness in order to become willing. But for this we need courage.

We genuinely live as God’s disciples when we cease asking for the easy route that has no brambles or pitfalls, when we take on the divine mantle of succumbing to the arduous journey of true willingness.  But for this we need strength.

And so we pray . . .

Dear and gracious God,

We hope to rest constantly in you; grant us your readiness.

We desire to follow faithfully the way of Christ; grant us your eagerness.

We expect to hurdle all obstacles that would keep us from you; grant us your strength.

We hope to respond willingly to your call no matter how difficult the journey; grant us your courage.

We ask that you hold us close to you. 

We ask that you keep us forever with you. 

We ask that you grace us with your willingness.

We ask this in Christ’s name, in unity with the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

For more information about the contrast of willingness and willfulness, click on the image above or go to the 21 February 2013 Brookhaven Retreat blog post at:  http://www.brookhavenretreat.com/cms/blog-22/item/845-willful-or-willing

Adapted from a reflection written on July 21, 2009, and posted on May 9, 2013. 

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

6648f45035a47efdafeee4d3f3f056e4_XL[1]Nehemiah 13

A Prayer for Willingness

True hope differs from waiting in that it expects the impossible to become possible through our petition and in God’s action.  Today we might reflect on a mirror image to hope and conversion that we pondered yesterday: the juxtaposition of willingness and desire.  It is this willingness – rather than our desire – that refines us as faithful.  It is this willingness – and not mere desire – that marks us as God’s disciples.

But what might we gain, we ask ourselves, from being willing rather than willful?

Perhaps it is our willingness that God nurtures patiently, waiting for our readiness to participate fully in God through Christ.  Perhaps it is this measure of willingness that indicates our full and ready understanding of who God is and why we are created in God’s image.   Perhaps is it our willingness to withstand any difficulty, our determination to be disciples of Christ that signals our preparedness to believe that God can truly make all things possible.  Do we desire to be with God but try to avoid all obstacles in our journey?  Or are we willing to travel the road, despite its roadblocks, in full willingness?

As we read about Nehemiah warning against stepping into alien and pagan territory and relationships, we might remember the Good Samaritan parable told by Jesus.  A man from Samaria, considered to be an outcast by the Jewish community, helps an injured traveler on the road to Jerusalem while the Levite, one who has special status in the Jewish community, keeps himself separate and pure.  As we mature from our Old Testament self who seeks to merely understand God and enter into our New Testament self to seek union with God we leave our desire behind . . . and we enter into willingness. 

We fully experience God’s presence when we give over our human desire of wishing for the end result through expedient or easy means, when we surrender our willfulness in order to become willing.  But for this we need courage.

We genuinely live as God’s disciples when we cease asking for the easy route that has no brambles or pitfalls, when we take on the divine mantle of succumbing to the arduous journey of true willingness.   But for this we need strength.

And so we pray . . .

Dear and gracious God,

We hope to rest constantly in you; grant us your readiness.

We desire to follow faithfully the way of Christ; grant us your eagerness.

We expect to hurdle all obstacles that would keep us from you; grant us your strength.

We hope to respond willingly to your call no matter how difficult the journey; grant us your courage.

We ask that you hold us close to you. 

We ask that you keep us forever with you. 

We ask that you grace us with your willingness.

We ask this in Christ’s name, in unity with the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

For more information about the contrast of willingness and willfulness, click on the image above or go to the 21 February 2013 Brookhaven Retreat blog post at:  http://www.brookhavenretreat.com/cms/blog-22/item/845-willful-or-willing

Adapted from a reflection written on July 21, 2009. 

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Where-the-willingness-is-great[1]Nehemiah 13

Willingness

I am always struck by the need to separate self from the alien or pagan world in these Old Testament scriptures when the message of unity and universality is taught by Jesus in the New Testament.  As a practicing Jew, Jesus would have known the warnings of Nehemiah quite well . . . yet he challenges us to cease our separatism in order to come to him with others, even those others we have previously avoided.  I believe that God, through Jesus, was calling humanity to something higher.  God is calling us to our divinity . . . through Christ.

I am also struck by the MAGNIFICAT Meditation.  Dom Guillerand, a French Carthusian monk who died in 1945, writes about the kind of willingness we must find within ourselves if we are to find intimate union with God.  He writes about training our willfulness so that the journey – with all its obstacles – becomes our desire; he explains that wishing for something is different from desiring it.  True desire is accompanied by willingness and perseverance.

What distinguishes wishing from real willing is this: the true will wants both the end and the means; mere wishing wants only the end.  Simple desire is conditional: “I would like to reach the end . . .”  “All right, go ahead!”  “But there is this difficulty and that”.  And so mere wishing remains simply an unfulfilled desire – an intention, and nothing more.  Further, it is not a question of just saying or thinking; the essential thing is to act.  Do thoroughly at every moment whatever it is you have to do.  Then you will be strong, although you may not know that you are.  By “thoroughly” I mean with the firm conviction that you will arrive, and the determination to overcome, sooner or later, every difficulty.

In our Eastertide journey we have discovered that although discipleship is arduous and difficult, it is also privilege.  We receive the gifts of meekness, constancy, broken-heartedness, honesty and truth.  Today we add the concept of willingness.  The willingness to live for and in and with Christ.  The willingness to become one with and in Christ.

Tomorrow, the difference between willfulness and willingness . . .

Written on July 21, 2009. Re-written and posted today.

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 21.7 (2009). Print.  

For another reflection on Willingness, go to the February 14, 2012 post on this blog at:  https://thenoontimes.com/2012/02/14/willingness/ 

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