“The word of God is volatile. It is unpredictable. It produces a zeal that can be a little embarrassing.”
I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard the priest at Mass yesterday.
“Yes,” I thought to myself. “It certainly is. I can’t believe I am writing a blog in the public domain about my spiritual journey.” Those of you who know me, know that I’m a very private person and I rarely talk about such things even “in person.”
Yet, over the past few years, I’ve had an amazing journey. I didn’t intend any of the journey and I certainly didn’t plan to share about it.
Let me start by sharing with you what was going on when I really put on “my walkin’ boots.” Over the past decade, our family has weathered many serious illnesses. Actually, to say we have been innundated by illness probably wouldn’t be an overstatement. We have dealt with preterm pregnancies and the NICU, neuropathy, cancer diagnoses, diabetes, heart issues, neck injuries, concussions, blood disorders, multiple surgeries, epilepsy, dyslexia, and much more.
Over these years, when I would go to pray, I often felt like I would come before the altar of the Lord and fall “flat out” and face down in front of Him because I had no strength to stand. I had no words to say. I was too exhausted to even process thoughts. I was empty and deflated.
Sometimes I wondered if it could even be considered praying – to drag myself before the Lord and then just say nothing at all.
It was during one such very difficult stretch a couple of years ago, that I came across a prayer card stuck between the pages of a book I was reading. I had received it while I was on an Ignatian retreat in college. It is called the “Suscipe.”
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,that is enough for me.
– St. Ignatius of Loyola
I took it out and prayed it. “What could I lose?” I thought to myself. I didn’t really feel anything at all the first time I prayed it.
I prayed it again a few days later. “I think I’ll just hand it all over,” I thought to myself. “God knows, I really am not doing a great job of handling all of it myself.” So, I prayed the Suscipe, envisioning myself literally handling all of my burdens over to Him.
It felt good. I felt lighter.
I decided to try to pray it every day. I didn’t really know that God would even care to receive my weak prayers but I decided to say the Suscipe every morning on the way to work.
Things started to happen. Just saying the prayer left me feeling comforted. After saying it, I seemed to have renewed energy and peace. Some days, it literally felt like an infusion of energy. Things started to fall into place. I started to meet people in all areas of my life whose friendships would enrich and sustain me. I also started listening for God more.
I have come to realize that this is an incredibly powerful prayer. In speaking with a Jesuit friend recently, I learned that this prayer is more than just a prayer of words. It is an offering of the full and total person to the Lord – mind, body, and spirit. When we pray this prayer, amazing things happen. Just try it. You’ll see.