Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Loving Presence

Being totally present without judgement does not come easily. Those who regularly choose to sit quietly in God’s loving presence sometimes experience a sense of God’s unconditional love for them and all those around them.  Whenever that reality seeps more deeply into their being it is often signaled by a deep sense of peace. The familiar story of an elderly person who often went into a church at midday and sat there quite a while was asked what he prayed.  He replied, “Oh I just look at God and God looks at me.” Total presence can happen in ordinary and surprising ways and places.
I recently heard of a nurse at a Veterans Hospital who was listening to a gentleman that had been living on oxygen for 8 years. He was in a very critical condition and could not leave the hospital.  The nurse wanted to be sensitive to what the gentleman was experiencing at this moment and said to him, “It’s unusual for persons to live that length of time on oxygen. How have you been able to go forward during all that time?” He responded, “It’s because of my connection with God.”  Being fully present to him the nurse felt free to ask him if he wanted to pray at this time. Both he and his wife said, “Oh yes.” 
Afterwards his wife talked to her sister and said, “I really appreciate the care the nurse is giving my husband.”  Then she related the above experience.  When we allow ourselves to listen with deep attention and love we are frequently given the words that are needed in that situation. Total presence often happens at moments of great love and great suffering.

Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck, OSB

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