“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.” — G.K. Chesterton
And grace before the Prairie Messenger column because this too is a form of communion; writers and readers are gathered here together to share what matters to us. Wherever and whenever the people of faith meet, we are in church. So let us say grace for the way this online and print journal nourishes us and strengthens the “one body” of community.
I invite you now to pay dual attention to what you’re reading and your state of being in the moment ... that quiet place within yourself from which you view these words with the spacious awareness of what is being read through you, even as you read. While sitting still, with attention focused in the spiritual heart at the centre of your chest, let us receive with deep gratitude the food for thought and feeling in the articles we read in this PM issue. Thank you Holy Spirit, for bringing us together in this way. Thank you for the time to slow down and come into your Presence and the mind-hearts of each other. We pray you will sustain our subscription to the original participation in inter-being which connects us when this paper is no longer in our hands or on our computer screens. We bless the gifts of this reading. Amen.
When St. Therese says “everything is a grace,” that’s certainly doubtful on the surface of life where even from the perspective of illness, aging, and inevitable death, it’s a losing battle. That’s not to mention the cruelty we can inflict on each other. Yet our physical sense of self and the see-and-touch world around us is a matter of mere existence. With the vision of an infinite horizon seen by faith, this earthly existence is but one step on our soul’s journey.
The eternally abiding “confidence and love” of St. Therese only makes sense when you reverse the space of self-awareness and realize life is not about you; you are about life. You are about the presence, energy, and action flowing through you in a unique way, almost like a fourth person of the Trinity. You are also a relational space rather than a fixed point of identity. And we are all part of an evolutionary outward spiral paradoxically starting from and moving toward a central point — the alpha and omega. The grace of that spiral forms and reforms us each moment. Yet because we are so locked into thinking in terms of cause and effect, we lose touch with the First Cause and the movement of the spiral is blocked. In short, for God to work through us, we need to get out of our own way.
So what is the way to reverse the space and predispose ourselves to grace? Well, it goes against every grain of self-will. Rather than thinking, you are being thought through. Rather than speaking, you are being spoken for; the hearing, the touching, it’s all not about you. Rather than looking, you are being seen through, unnerving pun intended. Instead of tasting, you are being tasted, food God is offering, taste-testing through you. Be thou well-cooked, nutritious, and delicious, so that in every aspect of life you will be saying grace.
Speyer is a Benedictine Oblate as well as an author, subject matter expert for e-therapy, clinical consultant and director of InnerView Guidance International (IGI). https://www.innerviewguidance.com