Sometimes, especially when it comes to God’s love, it’s better to receive than give.
The seed of this *face palm* realization was planted when I read the beautiful book, Thirsting for Prayer by Jacques Philippe. In the chapter where he describes conditions that are necessary for prayer to be fruitful, these words struck me: In our subtle pride, we want to do beautiful things for God instead of trying to find out what God wants to do for us gratuitously. *Gulp*. I recognized myself in that sentence. I am often so caught up in my intention to do something for God that I forget to focus on the prerequisite requirement of loving and being loved by Him fully. “Merit does not consist of doing or giving a lot, but rather of receiving and loving a lot,” said St. Therese of Lisieux. Tricky!
It’s about love, the Holy Spirit reminded me. Specifically, God’s love for me and how I need to let that, first and foremost, be the compelling force behind my relationship with him and behind any works that result. But I have to let Him love me first. Let it, I felt God saying to my heart one morning while prayer journaling about the Thirsting for Prayer book. Let love come in. Allow it. Receive it. Let LOVE enter, and let LOVE be the guide for my actions. I can’t go charging ahead without it. It can be prideful to keep asking “what can I do for you?” Father Jacques pointed out. Instead, my phrasing should be a more humble, “Please open me so that you can love and work through me, with me and for me.” It’s a subtle difference, but one with great implication.
God is faith, hope, love. He is a generous giver. He wants to give me an abundance of faith, hope and love through prayer and the sacraments and scripture.
And receiving it is priority No. 1 for those of us Thirsting for Prayer!