Friday, September 24, 2010

Like a Prayer...

There was a time when I felt I could not pray.  When I was struggling with the suffering of someone so horribly abused.  Well... two of them really.  One person was at least able to ponder the questions of evil in regard to the possibility of God's existence; the other had been raised as a strict protestant on the one hand and on the other had been "given" to Satan (as a child) - if such is possible.  Suffering, the likes of which I had not known existed, was left for me to grapple with.

In a way I cannot explain, it struck me dumb.  I could not pray.

Oh, I'm sure that I knew deep down that prayer went on within me.  The sighing of the Spirit Paul speaks of.  But I was mute in the face of horror.  I could not pray.

Perhaps this could be understood as a psychological phenomenon - something with a fancy term there's no need to drag in here.  But we therapists know that at times a willing soul, a willing recipient so to speak, can "receive" and "contain" emotions and experiences which a patient is either out of touch with entirely or has no words for - something never integrated within the psyche, even dissociated from consciousness.  So, unconsciously, they transfer this experience, these feelings, to the therapist - there to be felt, to be named, to be integrated and transformed - in order to aid the patient via undergoing a kind of inner purgatory.  Where one endures the desolation, chaos, intense longings and hatreds,  evicted from the soul of another, who simply could not bear them.  Where one is oneself transfigured - to the degree one can bear it.  On behalf of another.

Is this the compassion of Jesus?  Does this help us to understand the Divine Compassion of the Incarnation?  The emptying in order to receive what we ourselves could not bear alone, could not heal on our own, could not accept or understand or undergo?  Does this explain the words of Jesus:
28 ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ 
Is the yoke between us com-passion?  Where Jesus joins each of us, in shouldering the load, receiving the burdens Himself, integrating and transforming them, breathing his Spirit upon us - the Spirit of Peace, the Spirit of Rest. 

There was a time when I could not pray.  And there came a later time when I felt that my life itself was a prayer.  And even later, I came to see that every single action, no matter how mundane, was a prayer.


claire said...

Hmmm. Beautiful. Thank you.

TheraP said...

Often when I write, I know where I'm starting from, but I'm never quite sure where I'll end up.

Peace be with you.