Friday, April 25, 2008

Lover, What's on Your Mind?

Ever been in love? Ever long simply to hear what the other is thinking? And you want to tell them what's on your mind because they have a way of clarifying your thoughts? You "get" each other. You "click". Conversation flows. And there is serenity even in silently breathing in the same space.

A religious sister told me a story last night about a couple she knows. They married young and had children, then the wife developed Multiple Sclerosis that eventually completely debilitated her. She had to be hospitalized and could no longer speak. The only way she could communicate was with her eyes which she could still move at will. Her husband would often come to her side, tenderly holding her hand, and they would stare into one another's eyes for hours. They were communicating without words. He would later say that the most intimate, profound times he ever shared with his wife were those silent moments of a thousand words passing through their mutual and loving gaze.

I've often prayed that the Holy Spirit would guide me out of my perfectionistic tendencies via some miracle or word of wisdom from without. (This is going to tie in with all I've said. Hang in there.) I've also been asking St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (aka Edith Stein) to pray for and guide me in simmering my many interests down into one substantial passion so that I can focus on what the Lord would most have me focus on. Sister Teresa Benedicta was particularly gifted with single-minded determination and an unusual ability to focus on one thing at a time and see it through. (She would posit in her talks on the "feminine soul" that this is often one of woman's greatest challenges.)

Edith Stein always had an intense gaze and seemed to be pondering mysteries far beyond the present moment. After her conversion to the Catholic faith from atheism, she would grow to love spending hours at a time before Jesus in the most holy Sacrament in adoration. This silent, penetrating gaze shared with our Lord delighted her soul more than anything.

Today at Mass, I was contemplating my struggles with perfectionism and scattered passions, and also thinking of how much I love to hear the thoughts of a particular friend and to share our hearts with one another. I often turn to them when I need help thinking through important subjects about which I know little. And then it dawned on me ... I long to be in the presence of our Lord and say...

"Tell me what's on YOUR mind. Help me focus my thoughts by sharing Your own with me. Tell me so that I can learn to see through Your eyes what is really important and what I ought to think upon above all else. When You think about me and my life, what thoughts pervade? Tell me so that I can think them too, so that I can rethink my own thoughts and desires. Bring me out of my own head with your intimate gaze, and bring me into Your world. Let me rest my head on Your chest, and tell me Lover, what's on YOUR mind?"

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