By Kathy Keary
Our full series in the Contemplative Prayer Video Series is here.
Revisit earlier articles in our Contemplative Life Series here.
In this article, we will reflect on the Sacred Word that speaks of divine love, God’s desire to be in communion with us, and the yearning in our heart to find the living God deep within. It might be helpful for you to read out loud the Scripture passages that are referenced. Let these sacred messages touch you deep within.
Take a moment to allow these hallowed words to descend from your mind to your heart savoring them in the depths of your soul: “You are mine,” “I called you by name,” “I knit you in your mother’s womb,” “I have counted every hair on your head.” These are the words our Creator uses in Scripture to tenderly communicate to us, “You are my beloved child. I love you dearly. I long for you.” What word comes to mind as you meditate on these heartfelt words of affection? What does this word mean to you?
These are the words our Creator uses in Scripture to tenderly communicate to us.
Contemplation is rooted in our love relationship with the One Who Calls Us By Name. As Jesus instructs in the Gospel of John 7:9, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.”
Revelation 3:20 speaks of God’s pursuit of his children: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.” We typically dine with family and friends – those with whom we have a close relationship. These words speak of the Lord’s desire for intimacy with us. Our consent allows for a beautiful encounter with the Most High.
God’s desire for intimacy with us is expressed beautifully in Acts 17:26-28:
He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’ as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’
This God of ours is not far off and aloof. No, to the contrary; he planted within us an intense hunger to be in communion with the divine so that we would seek and find our Maker. Jeremiah expresses this in Chapter 29:13: “When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart.” We find this same sentiment in the Book of Deuteronomy 4:29. It’s repeated again in the Gospel of Matthew: “Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Mt7:7). God’s instruction is clear in Isaiah 55:3a, “Pay attention and come to me; listen, that you may have life.”
The longing for God that humanity experiences is described throughout the Psalms. As you read 84:3, identify the emotion that wells up within you:
My soul yearns and pines
for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and flesh cry out
for the living God.
As you ponder the words of Psalm 63:2, reflect on whether this captures your experience:
O God, you are my God —
it is you I seek!
For you my body yearns;
for you my soul thirsts,
in a land parched, lifeless,
and without water.
Allow the words of Psalm 26:9a to touch your heart: “My soul yearns for you at night, yes, my spirit within me seeks you at dawn.” Do these words speak to your desire for communion with the divine?
The psalmist describes his intentions in Psalm 27:8: ”My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek.” What image comes to mind as you consider these words?
Our attempts to grow in our relationship with God, do not fall on deaf ears. As written in the Book of James 4:8a: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” Our efforts are also fruitful. The Gospel of Matthew 5:6 is clear, “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” Be encouraged by the words of Psalm 24:5,6:
He will receive blessings from the LORD,
and justice from his saving God.
Such is the generation that seeks him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.”
Divine love and the mutual yearning of God and humanity to be in an intimate relationship is a common theme throughout Scripture. We have definitely not exhausted the many passages that sing of this truth. Accepting the existence of this deep abiding love is foundational for our future exploration of contemplation. In our next article, our focus will turn to the divine summons to silence and to rest in the loving embrace of our God as we bow to the words of our Prince of Peace, “Remain in my love.”
This article was originally published in The Contemplative Life Series on March 25, 2020.
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[Kathy Keary, spiritual director, holds a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in theological studies, and completed Sophia Center’s Souljourners Program, an intense study of spirituality and spiritual direction. Kathy believes that the Divine is present and active in all of life and encourages others to be awakened to the God in all including the Divine within. She enjoys accompanying others on their journey to wholeness discovering the person they were created to be.]
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