I often process slowly, so I was in my first semester of seminary (as I write this I realized it’s been 6 and a half years already!) and I had no idea why I was there. I’d graduated college and felt like I kinda sorta should maybe go to seminary because I wanted to do something ministry related… maybe. Maybe that could even be a pastor — though that desire and call was more audacious than I dared to believe. Truth be told, I was feeling pretty lost and unsure. I found myself in a class everyone was required to take called ‘Vocation of Ministry’ that a Dr. Steve Harper was teaching. I remember sitting there hearing this humble, grace and Spirit-filled man who was oozing of wisdom, speaking words that spoke to me on a level that I never had experienced anyone speaking on. I remember him sharing the above prayer from Thomas Merton that affected me. I distinctly remember sitting in that class and thinking “This is where I’m supposed to be.” As I reflect, I’m very thankful for that time of my life and the people in it — it was indeed the place I was supposed to be.
This prayer has spoken to me throughout the years. It’s spoken to me in different ways and for different reasons and around different circumstances and roads. This prayer has spoken again to me this new year. The new year always makes me pensive. It typically brings with it the sense of new roads, adventures, situations, emotions, and possibilities. Excitement and uncertainty. Dreams and fears. So I share this prayer with you as one that I think is incredibly powerful and liberating — whether you know exactly where you’re going (or what you’re doing or feeling), you think you know, or you have no idea. Rest in that God is ever with you this new year and always.
This was posted on the door of my room when I was on a silent retreat at St Leo Abbey a few years ago. The line about “my desire to please you” has stuck with me and has been part of my daily meditation ever since. The idea that even if I was unable to slence the chattering monkeys for as long as I would have liked , at least that my making the attempt to sit at Gods feet for awhile would be pleasing in Gods sight