that voice inside

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Mar 12, 2007

The folks who brought you Brokeback Lent in 2006 are at it again, helping the faithful orient themselves spiritually for the season ahead. You'll want to take careful notes from this year's Ash Wednesday Sermon, which includes learning of a sort you're unlikely to find, e.g., in the papal preacher's Lenten meditations:

Can you let the silence be itself a kind of prayer? John Veltri, a Jesuit spiritual director in Canada, once wrote down this prayer: "Teach me to listen, O God my mother, to myself. Help me to be less afraid to trust the voice inside -- in the deepest part of me."

Odd. I'm almost certain that, when his disciples asked Jesus, "Lord, teach us to pray," he left out the part about his mother and the voice inside. To be fair, though, he lacked the benefit of a Jesuit education.

Pray, perhaps, the kind of simple prayer with Anthony DeMello, S.J., suggests. He says to just take one of these short sentences place it in your heart and ponder on its inner meaning. Let an inner truth grow. Do not force it open with your mind. That will only kill the seed. Sow it in your heart and give it time. Here are the sentences: "You do not have to change for God to love you." "Be grateful for your sins. They are carriers of grace." "Say goodbye to golden yesterdays -- or your heart will never learn to love the present."

DeMello was said to have a wonderful smile.

Instead of begging God's forgiveness for our sins, the real metanoia might find you asking God to help you forgive God. That's exactly what someone found when he wrote this prayer: "Lord, help me find it in my heart to forgive you for making me the way I am. Blasphemy? Perhaps. Honesty? For lack of a better word, yes. ... in this one repeated blinding moment of clarity, I honestly need to forgive you, Lord. ...There is so much I cannot understand. There is so much I cannot thank you for...You whose heart is poured out in creation and found in forgiveness. ...Teach me to forgive your constant kindnesses to me."

Thank you, Father. If I've caught your gist, I am to pray to my heavenly Mother -- obedient to the voice within -- in gratitude for my sins, asking God to help me forgive God for making me the way I am.

Isn't there a technical term for spiritual counsel of this kind?

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