No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets

But as truly loves on to the close,

As the sunflower turns on her God when he sets

The same look which she turned when he rose.


I have loved these words ever since I first heard them sung by John McCormack on Victor 78s in the 1940’s.    They bring to mind a faithful love, the dog always at his master’s side, the eyes of the servant on her master’s hand.  So our eyes are to turn to our God.

Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until  he have mercy upon us.  — Psalm 123:2

I do not know if the sunflower’s face actually turns toward the sun throughout the whole day but the imagery works for me.

Thomas a Kempis in his Imitation of Christ writes:
I have said to thee full oft, and yet I say again: Forsake thyself, resign of thyself and thou shalt enjoy great peace. Give all for all, seek nothing, ask nothing again; stand purely and undoubtingly in me and thou shalt have me; thou shalt be free in heart and darkness shall not over go (overwhelm) thee. To this enforce thyself, this pray thou, this desire thou, that thou may be despoiled on all manner of self, and thou, bare, follow bare Jhesu (Jesus only) and die to thyself and live everlastingly to me. Then shall end all vain fantasies, wicked conturbations and superfluous cares; then also shall go away inordinate dread and inordinate love shall die. [ Part 3, Chapter xlii ]

And yet, and yet, while something in me seeks the will of God, how often and how well do I turn to him?  A few days ago I went to mass a half hour early, thinking I will ask God to teach me to pray.  This is one of my most constant prayers. I am not happy with how I pray.   I look about me, I see people sitting quietly in church, unmoving, apparently recollected, probably praying.  But me, I’m in the back seat because I’m fidgety, because I need to rearrange my body, because I used to the agoraphobic, because I want to see who comes in and what’s happening, and yes, I sometimes pray for these people, but I also cough, and clear my throat,  and move about, and I’ve been known to do “pew exercises” out of sheer boredom.  I turn to God and when he doesn’t talk back I move on to other things.

Father Thomas Dubay, S.M.,  says that waiting is a kind of prayer.  It is an activity that involves looking for someone, an expectancy, a yearning.   But I have trouble staying in waiting mode for any length of time.  The mind wanders.  It is true that often I go home after mass and the rosary and know what I am going to blog about that day.   It has somehow come to me at church.  How much is from me and how much from God I couldn’t tell you.

I don’t fret about the distractions too much.  God has shown me that he can get through to me if he wants to.  He knows how often I’ve asked to pray well.   I’ve learned from The Little Flower (St. Therese of Lisieux) that to be a little flower may be exactly what God asks of her (and of me).   I fancy she is a white violet.  Me, I’m a chickweed bloom.

Somewhere I read of a nun who wanted to learn how to pray well.  And a saint (I forget which) advised that she not strain over one method or another but pray like the flower in the field that simply turns to the light and opens up.

Fill my cup, Lord
I life it up, Lord
Come and quench this thirsting in my soul.


~~~

As the deer pants for streams of water,
So my soul pants for you, my God.  — Psalm 42:1