A Mid-Discernment Meditation on Trust

imag0218A meditation for those who want to grow in trust in God’s loving care for us during our discernment…

A Mid-Discernment Meditation on Trust

We begin our meditation by remembering God’s power, love, and mercy for us with a short aspiration, like “God, come to my assistance!” “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” Or pray to Our Blessed Mother to offer our intentions and concerns to her Son.

Begin where we are: what are we worried about?

Although I haven’t completed my discernment yet, it seems to be leading me to do something that is hard and new, something that I haven’t done before. I’m worried about how it will turn out. If I make this choice, will I be happy? What if doing this new thing is too hard, or I don’t like doing it? What if I take this “leap of faith,” but it really isn’t God’s will for me? What if something happens that I don’t expect, and it really doesn’t work out?

Confront our lives—in this case our fears—with Scripture

Psalm 62 is a powerful prayer of trust. In the Revised Standard Version, Psalm 62 is entitled: “Song of Trust in God Alone.” We prayerfully read Psalm 62 slowly, letting the words sink deep into our hearts. You can find it online in any number of translations or pull out your own Bible. Below are the first two verses.

Psalm 62

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.

He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.

Apply the Scripture to my situation

Psalm 62 lists reasons to trust in God, and also encourages us to take certain actions. What are the reasons that Psalm 62 gives for trusting God? Because…

  • From God comes salvation
  • God is a refuge, a mighty rock, an unshakable fortress
  • The things that make us feel secure—like riches, or the subservience of others—are just a delusion
  • God is our salvation
  • Power and steadfast love belong to God…etc.

Heart-to-Heart  with God

Psalm 62 encourages us to “trust in God and pour out our hearts to him.” “Pouring out your heart” to someone is a profound act of trust. We take a few minutes to do exactly this with God: talk to God about what is happening in our life right now, including our fears and uncertainties about the future, and why we hesitate to put our future completely in his hands. We ask him for what we need most! Remembering the imagery of Psalm 62—safety, fortress, salvation—thank him for “being there” for us always. Surrender all of our concerns into his loving care. Take a few moments of silence to listen to God’s response or invitation. (If we are not sure how to pray in the silence, we can listen quietly to our heartbeat, realizing every heartbeat is God’s love in action, sustaining us.)

Pray Psalm 62 again

This time, truly pray the psalm. Which “word” or “phrase” of this psalm resonates most deeply with you? Stay with that word or phrase. You may want to note it down on a piece of paper or on your smartphone, to remember throughout the day.

Anchor for Our Day

As we come to the end of our prayer, we review it briefly. What happened during our prayer time? Has something shifted inside of us? What is our deepest desire now? We might wish to conclude by praying the “Our Father,” offering our deepest desire to God, and asking for the grace to live his will in our lives today. As we return to every day life, we take with us the word or phrase from Psalm 62 that most deeply touched us, using it as an anchor or shelter any time today that we feel worried or anxious.

Put Out into the Deep! Lectio for Those Discerning

“Put Out into the Deep!”

Discerning with the Word: A Guided Lectio Divina for Those Discerning

The Miraculous Draft of Fishes – Raphael – Public Domain

 

Introduction: At certain moments in our discernments, the lack of clarity about the path ahead and the letting go of past ways of doing things to make room for the “new” that God is working in our lives, can cause a sense of timidity, uncertainty, or fearfulness within us. Jesus reminds us, “Do not be afraid!” 

(As noted in the Lectio Divina Guide for Those Discerning, a wonderful way of listening to the Lord—and perhaps the first that we should practice—is praying with the Bible through lectio divina. This guided lectio is provided to help those who are just beginning with lectio divina. If  you choose to pray with this guide, I encourage you to go back later and pray with this passage from Luke on your own, using this simple guide.)

Lectio: Luke 5:1-11

Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

Read through this reading slowly and attentively at least twice. Take your time with it.

Meditatio

This reading has a wealth of meanings. For this lectio, let’s focus on three lines of the conversation between Jesus and Simon Peter:

  • Put out into the deep
  • Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!
  • Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.

“Put out into the deep.” Up to this point in the Gospel of Luke, Simon Peter doesn’t know Jesus very well yet, except that Jesus healed his mother-in-law (Luke 4). It seems this is the first time that Jesus invites Simon to do something, and it is to step forward in faith in him. It’s an unusual request probably for a number of reasons; the impulsive fisherman mentions only two of them—the fish aren’t biting, and night time is better for catching fish. What is it about Jesus’ request or in his gaze that makes Simon Peter continue on, “…yet if you say so…” and follow Jesus’ invitation?

While Simon Peter was probably pretty familiar with the lake, I am not so familiar with “the deep.” It’s hard for me sometimes to follow Jesus’ invitation when I can’t clearly see the path ahead, when I don’t know “how deep,” or “how far” I’m being asked to go. But I have no need to be afraid because, like Simon Peter, I have Jesus in the boat with me. Jesus would never ask me to take a step forward in faith and then abandon me. He will be with me every moment of my discernment, every moment of my journey.

“Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” I really identify with Peter’s words as he witnesses Jesus’ goodness and miraculous power. Peter is in touch with his humanity and his sinfulness. And it’s fitting that we acknowledge our need for forgiveness, for conversion, not just in the challenging moments of our journey, but also in the seemingly miraculous ones.

The truth is that none of us are “worthy” of Christ. Yet our relationship with Jesus is not about being worthy, or becoming worthy. Our relationship with Christ is about Christ loving us first. Jesus is not concerned with “how” unworthy I am, because it only means that I am more aware of how much I need his saving love. And Jesus delights in saving us.

“Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” Jesus repeats “Do not fear,” in the Gospels over and over again. It might be tiresome to others, but for me, it’s a message I need to hear especially when I’m invited to take a step of faith, when I’m invited to “put out into the deep.” The reason we do not have to be afraid? Because from now on, we are Christ’s. When we belong to Christ, we can trust in his faithful love for us.

Christ’s invitation to follow him is implied here. And Christ’s invitation isn’t just for Peter alone. In essence, Jesus is inviting them, “Help me with my mission of ‘catching people,’ of attracting people to salvation in me.” It was an irresistible invitation for Simon and the other fishermen who were called.

Our call and our mission are so deeply connected that usually we cannot discern one without the other. Often, it’s just when we feel least worthy that Jesus calls us to share in his mission! And his call to us to be close to him is genuine: there is no way to draw closer to Jesus than by sharing in his thirst for others’ salvation.

Contemplatio

“Put out into the deep water.” What is the “deep water” that Jesus invites me to? How do I need to change or grow to respond to Jesus’ invitation?

Oratio – Prayer To Live God’s Loving Plan

Lord, from all eternity,
You know me, choose me,
love me, and call me.

Every day You invite me
to a life full of joy, love, and meaning!
You call me to become more truly myself,
and more of You.

You who love me through and through, 
and know every stirring of my heart,
have gifted me with a unique calling
where the world’s deepest needs
meet my deepest joy.

Grant me the openness to hear Your invitation,
the faith to trust Your love,
the courage to choose You, Master, as You have chosen me,
and a generous heart 
that falls ever more deeply in love with You.

Mary, God’s Mother and mine,
you joyfully and fully responded to God’s call in your life.
Help me to respond to God’s plan for me with all my being,
as you did. Amen.

Actio

Choose a way in which to respond to Christ’s invitation to you today in your daily life.

Note: I apologize for not posting the past week: I came down with the flu, and am only now feeling better. Over the next three months, I am doing some traveling for promoting my book, Soul of Christ: Meditations on a Timeless Prayer, but hopefully I’ll still be able to post three times a week…  God bless you!