Pause A While

Richard Rohr in Everything Belongs makes this simple but bold statement:

God is either in this now or God isn’t at all.

Think about that for a moment. Let it sink in.

Okay. Do you believe that? Do you believe that in the deepest parts of your heart? Do believe that God is here now?

If you do, that means God is not out there. God is here!

But where?

“Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.” God is not waiting in heaven for you to die so that you can join him. God is here on earth too, right now, in everything, in everyone, in even you. God the extraordinary is in the ordinary. (Reminds me of the little fish looking for the ocean.)

Are you aware? Can you see?

— — — — — — —

Richard Rohr uses this little prayer to draw himself into the now, to focus on being present to God that is now, everywhere in all things and people:

Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know.
Be still.

The first line is from Psalms 46:10. It is a popular line from scripture. I have heard it often. I have even tried many times to just “be still”, many times with not much success. Maybe it is because I think that everything about me, around me and in my head needs to be still and quiet. That’s hard to do with the way my mind works, and being a father of four, teaching high school, etc. The connotation of being still seems to demand a lot of time and concentration that I usually do not have.

A few months ago, a friend showed me another version of Psalm 46:10 from the New Jerusalem translation:

Pause a while and know that I am God.

To “pause a while” seems a lot more do-able to me than “be still.” Most books on prayer recommend to set a specific time everyday for prayer and to “be still”. I have not found my best time of the day yet. But to “pause a while” to be aware of God, I can certainly do that many times during the course of my day.

My “pauses” range from a few seconds to several minutes. Anything can trigger one, whenever a moment of grace touches me when my heart is open and I step into it, a moment of living in the now and not letting mind race with the daily minutia. Some days are easy; some days are not. I can find myself “pausing” while looking out a window at a tree or bird, at a smile, especially from a friend or student, at laughter, at tears. Hugs are excellent moments to be fully present to the now of God. Nearly every time I look at someone’s eyes, I pause, I am aware. Every time when I look into their eyes I most definitely am aware. For me, people seem to generate the moments to “pause a while” to be aware of God the easiest, but nature does too. Even man-made objects can if their beauty catches me off guard.

Each “pause” in a way is like participating in a form of the Trinity. There is God who is in everyone and everything, there is the other person (or creature or thing), and me. All in this moment of now, present to each other.

I am learning to “pause a while” at many different moments during the day, to be quiet in my mind and be present to whoever or whatever is there, to be present to the now, to be in a Mary state of mind and heart rather than a Martha. And every time I really “pause a while” to be aware of God around me, however long the moment is, I am, I “be” as the prayer above says. I am with God, in God. And, I take a sip from the “spring of living water.”

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