Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Each heart is a window

One of the challenges I face doing Centering Prayer (which is the only form of meditation that has ever "worked" for me) has been that the artistic visual side of me tends to fixate on images: though it's difficult enough to empty my mind, it seems virtually impossible to empty my inner sense of vision.

I've learned to be gracious with myself about this, and over the years I've settled on one image or another and allowed that to serve as a sort of visual word to bring me back to center. But they do have a way of evolving when I am not strict with them.

This morning, still under the influence of yesterday's celtic cross, I decided to allow that to occupy my visual space. But to my surprise, the circle shifted to become a heart, lying on its side, and the cross was suddenly occupied by Jesus, leaning out of the heart as if it were a window with this benevolent expression on his face.

And then there was a phrase to go with the image, which I will share with you:

"Each heart is a window,
from which Jesus lovingly
watches the world."

So that "bright unquenchable flame of God-ness" within each of us that I spoke of two days ago, is really Christ within us. And now I see that when we can clear our way through to it, it allows each of us to see all that surrounds us -- and one another -- with compassion and love.

Having put all that together, I found myself thinking of that great old hymn, St. Patrick's Breastplate, with its curious middle section:

Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort
and restore me.
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of
all that love me,
Christ in mouth of
friend and stranger.

So I wandered off to the internet to listen to it (which you can do here) and particularly loved these two verses:

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven
the glorious sun's life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
his ear to hearken, to my need;
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.

Perhaps -- once we all come to understand that Christ resides within each of us -- it will become possible to act with God's grace and blessing; to know when to hold back or lead forward; to know when to watch and listen, when to teach and guide, and how to speak with wisdom in total trust and safety.

I look forward to that day.


KimQuiltz said...

oh oh oh Diane! I love love love it! Each heart.Christ.window...perfect! I'm in a rush now, but I look forward to spending a little more time with this post tonight...Thank you! I will spend my day pretending that I have Jesus in my heart (other than in the usual way I have "Jesus in my heart") looking out to the people I come in contact with today.

karen gerstenberger said...

Thank you for the reminder of St. Patrick's Breastplate. I had not heard the rest of it. It's beautiful. I'd love to know it by heart...Bless you, friend!