Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Suscipe me

"Suscipe me" -- "Accept me" -- these are the words a novice says upon entering a Benedictine community: "Accept me O Lord, as you have promised, and I shall live." That is part of the allure of faith, that somehow in the process of connecting with the divine we will find acceptance, and perhaps, having found divine acceptance, we will have the courage to accept ourselves.

Because many of us are like this lovely house on the canal in Burano: we've spent a fair amount of effort on our exterior, surrounded and decorated ourselves with beauty, but we only open ourselves enough to see out. We display to maximum advantage and create an illusion of openness, but never really let anyone see in for fear of what they might expect or find.

Suscipe me. Esther deWaal tells us that the Latin word comes from the verb sub-capere, to take underneath with the idea of supporting and raising; that in Roman usage it was the word for a father taking up a newborn infant from the ground, thus recognizing it as his own.

"Suscipe me conveys the full depth and warmth of that word. Accept me, receive me, support me, raise me up -- wonderful singing words that say everything that I want to say as a prayer for myself."

But it's not just a prayer, it's a promise. If I am to invite divine acceptance, I must also open myself to the divine presence. It will no longer be enough to just peer through the cracks: Suscipe me is a promise that I will throw open the shutters, raise the blinds, open the curtains, throw wide the doors and let the divine light shine within. Which means those things I've tucked away in the dark corners will be exposed to ME as well as to the divine. Though that may be awkward and painful at times, it does mean I'll have an opportunity for a good, thorough spring cleaning. And the good news is, I won't be working alone!

1 comment:

Jan said...

This corresponds with my invitation in lectio divina today from Mark 8:7-9, the Transfiguration. Listen, wait, listen. In the waiting, I come to accept myself and others.