This moment in time is weird. We are all in our homes. The Pope prays to an empty St. Peter's Square. Grocery stores have lines where we all stand 6 feet away from each other. We are uncertain about the future of our jobs, scared for ourselves and our loved ones to get sick, and equally relishing in the unpurchased time with our families.
There is so much out of our control and yet so much we desperately want to control. It is a daily practice to truly LET GO and wade the waters of the unknown.
You can do Saint Jane Frances's meditation on your own or invite others in your home to join you.
Saint Jane had many worries, anxieties, and fears. Her husband had been murdered and she had 6 children to care for on her own. In her morning prayer, she would envision herself floating on her back in the ocean and, one by one, letting each affliction to float away like a buoy into God’s hands. She would then go about her day trusting that God would care for her. Inevitably though, the buoy would return with the same fears, worries and anxieties so the next day she would practice the meditation again. Until the day when one buoy didn’t return and she was free from that particular affliction.
Find a comfortable position that you can sit for the next 15 minutes. Rest your hands in your lap and close your eyes. Pay attention to how you are breathing. Don’t change it just yet. Notice if your breaths are short and shallow or long and deep.
pause for 5 breaths
Now silently count to five as you breathe in through your nose. Hold the breath at the top for 2 counts and then exhale for five counts. Do this on your own five more times.
You can return to your normal breathing or if you’re enjoying the deeper breathing, happily do what your body calls for. With your eyes closed and your body relaxed, see yourself walking into ocean. Don’t worry, the water is warm and feels good on your tired body. Maybe in a net dragging behind you, you have heavy buoys of all the things you had to leave behind to join us today. It takes strength to pull them through the water. Worries of buying all your Christmas gifts, what you’ll make for Christmas dinner, when you’ll have time to prepare for house guests. Worries of a sick parent or a sick child. Worries of your finances or job. Fears of the future. Sorrows of being single in this season of life. They are all weighing you down as you get deeper in the water.
Now lay back in the water. Notice how weightless you feel with the water fully supporting you. The soft waves almost rock you. Take a deep breath and exhale as you relax more. For the next several minutes as we sit in silence, imagine that it is God holding you there in that water. His love for you is as big as the sea. He has room to hold your buoys for you. Take them out of the bag, one by one, and release them over head. Tell Him what they are. Let the water take them as they float away from you.
As you have let go completely and let God hold everything for you, notice if your physical body is more relaxed. Has your shoulder tension released? There in the water, without that bag of buoys pulling on you, notice that God has plenty of room to hold everything for you. You are not alone. For the last few minutes, rest in His gaze on you. Let your body fill with His joy and peace and love that we only find in Him. Let yourself really feel the love of the Father.
pause for three minutes.
As we open our eyes and begin to move our hands, remember that this is a place that you can always return to. Tomorrow your buoys will likely have returned and so you’ll have to let go of them again. It is a daily practice and one that unites us with our God who delights in walking with us.
Remember that the Christ that we are so looking forward to meeting in the manger on Christmas morn- ing, actually dwells within us now. He lives within our hearts as tangibly as Jesus lived within Mary’s womb leading up to the first Christmas. If we cannot find peace along the journey, it will not await us there. As we go back into our homes and communities today, let us all be like Our Lady who brought hope to the world.