Days of Preparation: Week Three/Session Two.
Theme: The Intimacy of Prayer.
Our reading for today: Isaiah 55: 1-13.
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters. Listen, listen to Me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare…Give ear and come to Me; listen, that you may live. Isaiah 55: 1-3 (MsgB)
In this world of wonder, invitations abound. From the time I get up in the morning until the time I go to bed, there will be literally thousands of invitations extended to me. Let’s review just a handful.
First, there’s my outer world. The world of TV and radio, the Internet, iphones, billboards, magazines, and more. Most of the marketing articles I found (where else but on Google?) state that the average American is exposed to up to 3,000 advertising messages per day. Whew! That’s a whole lot of invitations to come, buy, and indulge. Don’t you think?
Then, there’s the human touch of invitations. People at home. People at work. People at school. People at church. You name it. People asking you to do something with them, but more often, for them. Invitations that are sweet and innocent. Invitations that are completely selfish. Invitations that are good. And invitations that are very, very bad.
Finally, we have the inward invitations. The ones we think when no one else is looking. Invitations to be myself. Invitations to put on a mask. Invitations to be honest. Invitations to cheat. Invitations to tell the truth. Invitations to lie. Invitations to eat healthy. Invitations to devour that second or third chocolate donut! You get the picture, right?
Now, in the middle of all of these countless invitations, there’s an invitation from God. Isaiah 55 states it just about as clearly as anywhere else in the Bible. Today, as I was reading slowly (Lectio Divina) through these thirteen verses, I was struck by two key verbs that are attached to God’s unique invitation to me.
First, and foremost, is the initial invitational word found in the very first sentence.
You know something? There are a lot of wonderful promises in Isaiah 55, but I will not receive any of them personally if I fail to respond to this very first invitation to action. In truth, God’s invitation to COME will not be complete unless it also contains my active response; which of course, is to get up off my duff and COME!
Kinda reminds me of the Billy Graham evangelistic crusades back in the day. At the end of every vibrant message Billy preached, there would always be a call to respond. “I’m going to ask you to get up out of your seats…and COME,” Billy would proclaim. Now that I think about it, I believe Billy stole that line from that carpenter’s son from Nazareth!
“COME,” Jesus said, “Follow me.”
The second verb that hit me was LISTEN.
(What did he say?)
LISTEN. In truth, that’s not a very easy thing for us human beings to do, is it? Why? Because we spend so much time talking and making noise. Rarely will we take a breath and just LISTEN. In fact, one of the spiritual disciplines God has me working on right now is the fine art of listening. My trainer in spiritual direction, Kris Miller, tells me often, “Marty, when you’re sitting with a directee in spiritual direction, let the silence do the heavy lifting!” In other words, “Shut up, Boller, you’re jaws are flapping way too much!”
So there you have it, folks.
Lots of wonderful things God has waiting for you and me in the days ahead. Yet to access these blessings, I must do two important things:
One: get off my a— and place one foot in front of another, moving myself closer to the One who is inviting me to His blessings.
Two: Do much less talking and a whole lot more listening…waiting on the One who knows a whole lot better than me anyway!
Seems simple doesn’t it. Yet as a wise man one told me…“if it were easy, everybody would be doing it!”
My prayer: Father God, I confess that’s it’s wonderful to read about the amazing things You have for me in this life and in the life to come, but truthfully, the whole enchilada tends to get lost because of my failure to do two simple things. COME & LISTEN. Holy Spirit, I’m so glad that You dwell inside me, empowering me to these two simple actions. May I have the courage and tenacity to COME & LISTEN today. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So, what other invitations are wooing me away from God’s invitation? What specific action steps do I need to take today that will better position me toward saying ‘no’ to those invitations and saying ‘yes’ to “coming” toward God and “listening” to Him?
So what is God speaking to you today as we ponder together The Ignatian Adventure?
Over an eight month period, you and I will be working our way through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. For more information on our journey and how to begin…click here!
To go onto the next journal entry…click here.