At the beginning of the day:
Offer a short prayer of thanksgiving for the day. Then I suggest you listen to the attached
talk first and then familiarize yourself with the suggested reflection questions and practice. You
may want to read the parable of the prodigal son from the gospel of Luke (15:11-32) as I refer to
it quite a bit in the talk.
Throughout the day:
What image of God did you grow up with? Was it healthy? If not, does it still have an
emotional grip on you? Do you think of your relationship with God in economic terms (If I’m
good, I’m rewarded; if I’m bad, I’m punished)? Have you had difficult experiences in the past,
especially with those in authority over you, which may not taint how you see God?
John, the beloved disciple, had a keen insight into the father’s love. He writes in his first
letter, “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so
we are.” A good practice is to hear—and even say out loud—this verse for yourself, as it is true
for each of us: “See what love the Father has given me, that I should be called a child of God;
and so I am.”
At the end of the day:
If you have a spiritual practice with which you end the day, and it’s working for you,
don’t change it. If not, I’d suggest taking just a few minutes before bed to review the day. Give
thanks for the day. Ask forgiveness for whatever you may you need it for. Again, don’t judge
yourself too harshly: God doesn’t. Ask to be freed of anything you may be carrying as a burden
from the day. Give it to God for the night.
Perhaps the hardest bit of advice in the spiritual life was given by the Carmelite saint
Elizabeth of the Trinity: “Let yourself be loved.” Easier said than done! But, as Jesus said,” God
is love”; it’s God’s nature to love, and we are created to receive that love. So as you end the day,
let St. Elizabeth’s words be a prayer for you.
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