As summer surrenders to fall, a dying of sorts, I am reflecting on the forty-day prayer practice that is also ending for me. I have just completed “Behold your life: a pilgrimage through your memories” by Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr, and feel that I’m the better for it. I’d like to share one of the daily reflections that was most meaningful to me. And I pray that you too will be the better for experiencing it.
Read Colossians 3:1-4—Anyone who is seriously trying to live an intentional life of transformation and growth experiences a lot of “daily dying.” This is a day to reflect on the transformational deaths along your journey through life. Every death is a little birth. What are your memories of letting go? Ponder this kind of dying today.
Death! It is all around me. It is within me. The grain of wheat is falling into the ground at every moment. It is the great healing facilitating a new birth. The reason I embrace moments of death is because I want to be transformed. My transformation gives glory to the entire people of God, the church. With Jesus I say, “It was for this very reason that I have come to this hour.” I reflect now on the variety of deaths I have experienced. All death is a letting go. In that letting go I am born anew. Am I truly able to let go?
…I let go of my cherished opinions and I am able to listen attentively to another person.
…I let go of my resentments so that my negative energy need never damage someone else’s life or my own.
…I let go of the fears that paralyze me so there may be more room for love in my life.
…I let go of a loved one in death so that the Great Spirit may receive that person eternally. Holding on to someone who has died is a kind of refusal to give them back to God. Frantic clinging is not the same as healthy grieving.
…I let go of a relationship because I am finally able to admit that the time has come for each of us to grow in different ways. I hear Jesus saying, “Unless I go the Spirit cannot come.” I understand this more clearly than ever as I painfully turn away from a destructive, smothering relationship. Unless we go from each other, the Spirit cannot come to us in new ways.
As I learn to embrace these daily deaths, I am set free a little more with each death. A bit of daily dying is a great preparation for my final death. How will I die today?
Jesus, today I am the grain of wheat. I am falling into the ground and dying. I hold in memory the many deaths of my life: cherished opinions, grudges, my own will, attachment to things and to people, successes, jobs, my heath, relationships I thought I couldn’t live without. And finally, the great letting go—the death of beloved ones going home to eternal glory. In letting them go I hand them over to the great transfiguration—the great healing. Slowly I name each death as I put it on the cross with Jesus, I see faint shades of glory that will come from these deaths and I pray with you on the cross, “It was for this very reason that I have come to this hour.” Amen.
Thank you Sr. Macrina. If you have been touched by this reflection, I encourage you to consider making it a part of a future prayer time. Consider how “deaths” have brought new life to your life. Let it take you deeper into God’s presence and healing touch. Receive the freedom that comes from letting go and letting God.
God bless and keep you today.
***Photo credit–Cathy Raney