A Fundamental Contemplation – Seasonal Reflections

A Fundamental Contemplation

Let me walk you through a brief contemplation of this truth of our lives, [the fact of who I am and whose I am]. It is a vision and a practice worth returning to again and again…

Imagine yourself on the bank of the Jordan River. What does the scene look like? Who’s there? Is it noisy or quiet?…What does the air feel like on your skin, in your hair? Then look into the river and let your eyes rest on the figure of John the Baptist and whoever else is there. But ultimately, let your gaze focus on the person of Jesus. Behold his face and sense his presence. Once you’ve “composed the place”, as Ignatius describes that use of imagination in prayer, let Jesus call you into the river. How do you feel when he locks eyes with you and beckons you to come join him?

Allow yourself to wade into the water. You’re side by side with Jesus. Maybe you have a brief talk with him. Do you want to say anything to him about how you’re feeling? Or maybe you just want to take a moment or two in quiet being in his presence. Soon, though, let Jesus show you how to go down under the water, to descend. Surrender while you descend. While under water, start letting things go. Let go of any uncertainties or anxieties. Let go of fears. Let go of memories of regret, of shame, of inadequacy. Acknowledge places of weakness and let those go. Also. Let go of the things you’re proud of. Of your accomplishments. Your talents, your strengths. The things that you want other people to know about you and think about you, let those go too. Let go of all the good and the bad and the ugly within you. Empty out until you have nothing to show for yourself.

Now let Jesus show you how to rise up out of the water as he stands shoulder to shoulder with you. He too is emptied out. Quiet. Open. Listening. And in that openness, you hear a voice from above, the Father saying to Jesus and through Jesus to you too: “You are my beloved son. You are my beloved daughter. In you, I am pleased.” Let the Father keep saying those words. Try to stay open to hearing them. Let those words penetrate not just your mind, but deeper, into your heart. Let them resonate. Try to stay present and open and receive what the Father says about you and what he says directly to you.

This is a go-to contemplation for us, an image for us to remember and to return to again and again…Our feelings about how those words resonate in us might come and go. The truth remains the same, though. What counts is what God says, how God sees us.

Excerpt from the book Habits of Freedom by Fr. Christopher Collins, S.J,

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