August 14, 2011

Retreat Notes: Arise, My Beloved

[Songs of Songs 2:8-14 was the reading for Morning Prayer on the feast of St. Clare at the Abbey]

"Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come...the time of pruning the vines has come."

That is prayer. That is the spiritual life. The desire to pray, the inspiration to turn to prayer, is our experience of this invitation. Our heart and mind lifted up to God in prayer is just the call of God to the soul, 'Arise my beloved, my beautiful one, and come' viewed from our human perspective. So to pray is only to surrender and consent to be lifted up into the call of Love to the beloved.

But prayer must also be the consent to pruned, to be cut, to accept the painful excision of attachments, of sentiments and aspects of the self that you thought were integral to who you are, to 'being yourself.' For the created person whom God loves is not the same as my idea of who I am. So I must have faith that the loss and pain of the pruning is not only what is supposed to happen through prayer and is not a sign of something wrong, but instead is directed toward making me more the creature beautiful to God and therefore more happy and free for the purposes of his kingdom.


Karinann said...

I have never thought about this passage from this perspective. Praying and being open to the pruning; praying to see myself as God sees me and to become the person He created me to be. It is easy to forget that who I think I am and who God wants me to be could be two very different things. Thanks for this one Br. Charles~much food for prayer and meditation in this.
God bless.

kam said...

This re-affirms to me that what I thought was 'prayer' had only been a one way street with me chugging down it in the darkness. Lately this has not been so. When the time comes the pruning will start...