From my prayer retreat at the monastery, post 2


July 14: “Here I am”

If you have been called by God, your answer begins with, “Here I am.” The Scriptures record the calling of Samuel and Isaiah, and both times the response to God begins with, “Here I am.” For Samuel, it is an answer to the voice that speaks to him in the night. For Isaiah, it is a willingness to be the one sent by God to proclaim his message.

I came to the monastery with a sense that God was calling me to come away with him. Upon arriving here, my response has begun with, “Here I am.” This is my simple posture before him. There is no need for a flowery speech expressing my devotion to him. At this point, there is only the presentation of myself before him. (Incidentally, this kind of posture before God, punctuated by brief but heartfelt prayers, is very much in keeping with Benedict’s teachings. He favored brief prayers from the heart over long-winded rhetorical masterpieces.)

To say “Here I am” is to say something personal. It is a statement of presence-in-relationship. It expresses one’s personal presence (“Here”… “I am”). It is also a statement of relationship, because “Here I am” is a response to the call of the other. In the context of being a response to God’s call, “Here I am” is both a prayer of obedience and a hymn of worship.

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