Hello and welcome to Two Hearts True Healing! I am your host Jacinta Wick! This is Season Two Belonging, A Father’s Authority Episode seven; Presence. What comes to mind with that word? A sense of being there in the moment or a deep premonition or intuition of something. Have you ever entered a place where the moment you arrive you feel a deep sense of peace and that something holy is present in a powerful way? Or maybe you have encountered a person that when you are with them you feel a calm sereness and a closeness and that you are the only person with them and they have all the time in the world just for you. We might get a little choked up or deeply moved while in this situation. What is sure to happen in us is that it rubs off on us. We feel reinvigorated and words can’t quite describe the fullness we have received. We are in a certain awe and this encounter actually makes us more aware of our surroundings and we can discern a change in us.

A huge part of security and belonging is this presence. Where does this start for us? With our parents. Do we not feel better, on a natural level, when our father is present? And also our mother? If that is not the case, perhaps you don’t really quite understand the importance of presence or the feeling. Perhaps you are searching for it and can never quite understand the emptiness you might be feeling. The presence of our father and mother feeds the other. The mother teaches the child how to act in the presence of the father. The father’s love exudes forth to the mother and she gives out of fullness. She gives gratitude and love as she sees she is not alone and has a helpmate to carry the burden and share the joy. The father’s care is accepted and appreciated. He is there for his wife and his children and in return are obedient to his words and requests with respect. Being there has so many different levels. You can be sitting in a room, but actually being present is another matter. Active listening and active giving is central. For example, a father can be sitting in the living room looking at his phone but is he engaging with the family running and playing around him? He’s caught up in the news, facebook, YouTube. Is that presence? Wouldn’t it be far more true to say that means he’s not really there? Look instead at the father romping with his children and rough-housing or sitting and reading a book with them. Or even just sitting with the wife and talking about a variety of things. This is presence. There is passive presence and active presence and both need to be applied differently at different times.

Wounding occurs when this presence is inappropriately applied and used. What if the mother is too passive to the father’s advances? We can’t receive by that route. We’d be suspicious. What if the father doesn’t offer himself? Then it is as if he isn’t there actively giving and guiding and mamma does everything. That would mean we can’t give ourselves to the unit but force our own way. What if there is discord (yelling and argumentation) between the two and agreement and help is not given by either one? How can one live peaceably then? They have lost harmony by this route and contentment, and active partnership that bears fruit. Then the children won’t be able to work well with balance and with one another. Trust is destroyed. And it takes a lot of work to find peace. Or maybe your parents weren’t married and didn’t have the sacramental graces that form and shape the home and are passed onto children and you feel like you don’t fit in. It is okay. You have your heavenly Father and Mother Mary. You are still a part of God’s family. If you have missed some of these graces from marriage then ask God to fill these in and find people who can fill this role for you and pass on the grace God desires to fill you with.

Let’s turn to our old testament passage to see what presence means. Turn to Jonah 3:1-10. This passage does not directly talk about presence and peace but once you begin to dig deeper you begin to discover a certain undercurrent that speaks deeply of the fruits and source of presence. Jonah has been proclaiming the Word of the Lord for about a day in a city that takes three days to travel through. He has been saying, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” Word traveled super fast and we know this because we hear, Then tidings reached the king of Nineveh and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. He then publishes a public proclamation for the people of Nineveh to cease doing evil and repent, turning to the Lord in the same way as himself so that the Lord may have mercy. What does this tell us? Presence is something that is received and it convicts a change in us. We have a deep hole in us that is only filled when we encounter this presence and cling to it. It requires an action in response to it. It can bring peace or unrest but it has a purpose. To bring about a greater good. In this story, the experience of presence brought repentance. That means a turning from one point to another. Conversion. A complete turning around. So normally, the presence we receive is not as dire as this story but it still invites the same thing. A movement of the heart toward a deeper reality and it brings change. After the encounter we are not the same. But then comes the point of decision. Will we follow it? Will we change our heart and make reparation and repentance real in our life to show God we are listening and want what He wants?

Psalm 130 brings us again to this reality. Let’s take a moment to read it. Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord! Lord hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope. This shows a deep hunger for the Lord. That our heart is waiting for presence. That means this experience is in direct relation to the human experience of longing. Our life is up and down and that brings about in us a desire for something better and for something to bring us fullness. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. That means that this longing has only one fulfillment, the Lord. We can try to fill our hearts with many things but nothing will quite fill us like God can. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities. Passing pleasures only leave us feeling more empty than when we found them and desired them and used them. After this we feel dried up and broken and it can make us fall harder. But that feeling doesn’t happen when we put God in the hole we experience. We will still have desire but we will keep wanting to come back for more but in a different way. It won’t break us but fill us, revitalize, and renew us, bringing grace to our daily life and calling and strengthening us so we are lifted up and not broken down. That we can choose holiness and walk in an even closer relationship than we did before. Love does not make us feel empty. It wants to grow us and be shared to bring others to the same fullness. It wants to make us bring others to the source or our happiness.

Now that we understand the human experience a little better, let’s turn to a new testament passage that will even further clarify this theme and encourage us. Luke 10:38-42. We have Martha and Mary. The servant and the contemplative. Both prayer and listening and service and work are necessary and both feed us. But service has to flow from this place of prayer and contemplation. Mary’s work was sitting at the Lord’s feet and listening to His words so she could just be with Him and love Him and Martha’s work was serving the Lord’s physical needs and the others that were with Him. There is a keyword in this passage that shows where our heart needs to be. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.

Distraction. Jesus wasn’t so much getting after Martha for the service she was providing but to the fact that her heart was anxious over many things and on empty works and not centered on first sitting at the Lord’s feet and being present to Him loving Him and letting Him fill her and drive her letting service be the fruit. Service is needed. We wouldn’t have food on the table or great inventions like the lightbulb if people didn’t work. Each of us though are called to find the Presence of the Lord and by following this presence we can find what God is asking us and what he wants us to do. Also each of us are called to varying ways of being in this presence. Some people are called to more worldly occupations and some of us are called more to work by sitting at the Lord’s feet and listening to Him. A contemplative’s main concern is prayer for himself and for others. Sitting at the feet of Jesus and just loving Him. An active servant is concerned about bringing this love to others but in a different way. What does Jesus say about contemplation? “Mary has chosen the better part.” He has a heart for people who just love Him.

I am not saying that all you who do a lot of things shouldn’t be doing them but I am saying it has to come from a place of encountering the Person of Jesus Christ and having a relationship with Him. Presence is a Person. With that mindset, one finds a certain interior life that can always be centered on Jesus and doing things for love of Him. A deep peace and refreshment comes from this. One can make one’s work prayer. Work is then glorified and becomes an expression of love. Remember the curse of Eden? (See Episode One) Work is what purifies and grows us. An illustration to help you understand what I mean is looking at St. Therese and St. Benedict, versus say St. Isaac Jogues. These three saints were called to bring Jesus to people but in different ways. The two contemplatives just spent time being little by their life of ordinary little things done with love. Their work was different by a certain marriage of Prayer and Necessary Work to live. Both had austerity to curb sinful desire but manifested in different ways. One by a hidden life and the other by forming small christian communities of culture and excellence around beauty and the sacramental life. St. Isaac Jogues did this but in a big way. He had many hardships, travels, sacrifices in his life but what was he doing? Actively bringing life to the Native Americans. He was a bodily missionary versus a heart missionary. Both callings are important. Both callings require different graces and manifestations. Deeds attracted change but in different ways.

Can I give you another example of Benedictine Work? One that calls upon both the body and the mind. Remember Psalm 130 we talked about earlier? This is a Psalm the monks chant in compline and for the dead. Let’s listen and I will draw your attention to how this song is a work and a commentary on the words being sung. (This is a version I found on YouTube sung by women and not males.) It begins from a place of solemn depression and builds from our experience as mortals really desiring something. Look (listen) at where it builds to. The word meam. Me. I. You know that this is where the emphasis is in this chant because of all the notes it gets. It goes up and down kinda like life with its ebb and flow. Hear my prayer. We find ourselves being carried somewhere. From the depths I have cried out to thee, O Lord… de profundis clammavi ad te, Domine. The melody goes to a peaceful climax and then there is silence. It has brought us back to God. It has a peaceful end in the heart of the Lord. The phrase carries us to a silence. This silence is full. It was built in to bring our hearts to this place of reliance and it shows how man must do it. This is also a necessary work but expressed differently. Listen to it again and see where it takes your heart.

Thank you so much for walking with me in this episode. Sorry it is a little late. I needed some time with my husband and we had a wonderful retreat at Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey in Oklahoma. If something touched you, share it with a friend and bring them on board. I would also love to hear from you if you feel touched and blessed in some way by this episode. You can always reach me at twoheartstruehealing@outlook.com or on my website www.twoheartstruehealing.com. Know I am carrying you in prayer until next time rest in the peace of Christ!

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