Thursday Lent week 1

Ask and you will receive..

If we receive this encouragement at the magical stage of our development we will either become very disappointed very quickly; or we will be forced into metaphysical gymnastics that mess up our minds.

Even the rational mind cannot make much sense of this affirmation that our spiritual practice is worthwhile. To ask.. but for what? And how often? What are we supposed to offer in return? A thousand rosaries, giving up drink for Lent? To the contemplative mind, however, where paradox and subtlety are more at home these words of Jesus make perfect sense.

Asking for something is acknowledging that we don’t have it. It is humbling and risky to the self-sufficient ego because the confession of all need makes us vulnerable. The trick is to realise that we are not asking for any thing we want. We are just putting ourselves in this state of asking – a first step towards poverty of spirit and radical detachment. Asking for no-thing means we get all we ask for because it is given in the very way of asking. The answer is in the question if we listen silently enough.

This won’t win you the lottery or console you with the fantasy that you might, but it will help you to live contentedly without winning it.

In the same way meditation is attention, paying attention without holding on to any object of attention and dispensing with all images and thoughts. Pure prayer without additives.

It’s not a complex game but like all games it has rules. In fact this is the only rule of this game. The twice-daily discipline of meditation is not so much a rule as the ticket into the game.

Laurence Freeman OSB