Our family took special pleasure in Don Sampson’s occasional visits. Don, who lived around the corner, owned the construction company that had built our house the year before we moved in.
As an eight-year-old, I liked that he had built our house. I imagined that some of the love that this congenial man had put into making it would stay with the house and become ours, too. He looked proud and happy when he would glance at the life being lived under the roof and in those rooms he had built.
Inviting the builder in
Do we invest the time and attention needed to invite God, our Builder, into the chambers of our heart? And is he happy to see how we are living in this body and heart that he made just for us? Do we welcome him in with the reverence he deserves as the creator of our being?
Barring the door
Sometimes we don’t want to hear Jesus’ gentle knock. If he’s visiting us to heal a resentment of one who hurt us badly, it’s easy to tell him to come back later (I experienced this a couple of years ago). We think we’re not ready yet to forgive, but we’re really just unwilling to invite him in to end the punishment we think we’re inflicting on the offender. But Jesus knows the punishment is wounding only our own hearts.
If we invite him in to weep with us, to let him console us and touch our wounds, if we’re ready to let his forgiveness take the place of our poverty, we’re on the path to wholeness of spirit. We’re on the path back to joy. Because only he can lead us there.
How to open the door
Attention is the way of listening, and listening attentively is the way of love. We cannot love God as we ought—we cannot pray as we ought—without giving him our attention to hear him speaking to our heart.
Because Jesus is a gentleman and won’t force himself on us, we need to set aside time for prayer and the Sacraments to focus on receiving the riches of healing and life he wants so much to give us.
Don Sampson never brought over a golden chandelier or mahogany table when he visited. But God, our builder, furnishes our souls with his richest gifts if we just give him the time out of our day to do let him do it.
What lovely conceptions, laden with seeds of peace and growth.
Have a peaceful week, Margaret!
Much of the time my mind races with competing thoughts. As a scientist it’s my purpose to entertain all possible ideas. However, when I do an experiment to test these ideas I must have a definite plan. It starts with a checklist to make sure I’m prepared. Airline pilots go through a checklist prior to takeoff. As an altar server I stepped through a preparation checklist no matter how much I thought I knew it by heart. Having the dinner table set to perfection is a way of honoring God.
For me, personally, I must clear my mental house before I can give God my undivided attention. I begin the day with Contemplative prayer which is practice in excluding distractions. Then I read Magnificat for the day; his words not mine. Then it’s the checklist, the special one for receiving Him. One of the greatest checklists I can employ for receiving God Is “How Much More Will the Father Give” by pope John XXIII. Each of the items begins with “Only for today” which helps me address what is right in front of me. It takes a little while but I’m better prepared.
Thanks for the book idea, Tom. I read last night something Jesus said to the visionary Gabrielle Bossis in the book “He and I,” page 67: “Although it may seem strange to you, there is grace I cannot give unless you ask me for it.”
Lovely story, Rose! Thanks.
Thanks for tuning in, Diane!
I struggle with distractions when praying. I ask God for help with this, but I know that He knows I am trying and I am weak. My plan is to meditate on a scripture passage every day – some days I do better than others (and some days it slips past me), but I am inviting God into my house, into my life every day. I can only try…
Meditating on scripture is such a great plan, because the Word is “living and active.”
Prayers for your progress and gratitude for your faithfulness!