God’s arms open wide in love are the point of reflection for many of us as we live the contemplative life. There are no boundaries to God’s love. The circumference of God’s love is limitless.
When Bernini designed the columns from the front doors of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome that stretch out around the ‘square’ before the basilica they are like two arms reaching out to draw all into this loving embrace of God offered through the church – the holy people of God.
This brings me to remark that monastic prayer is a constant tension between the world tugging us out into all these concerns, problems and tensions while at the same time being aware that we are being drawn into God’s healing, reconciling, unfailing love. The ceaseless prayer offered by those responding to the monastic call holds us in this tension mindful that our surrender is to acknowledge the plethora, the magnitude of what needs prayer while remaining open handed offering this all back to God.
It is a mental wrestle because the world catches us up in this cacophony of urgency while the loving embrace of God encircles us and at the same time that we are feeling drawn out, draws us in to this eternal love. Attentiveness to which direction to follow may want to occupy our decision making, but the powerful invitation of God is ever drawing us into trinitarian love.
At all times we remember the incarnation is about God loving us so much God takes on this human condition with us, never abandons us, and is always giving us the Spirit. Where our longing for God meets God’s longing for us is contemplation. Staying in the awareness that this is never not happening permeates our day to day as we reflect on Jesus inviting us to come and be with him.