Come to Me. Still your mind. Mute your goals. Open your heart to Me within. Delve in deep, where I am, flowing love, creating you, breathing you, healing all. Say yes to Me, all I am. You with me, Me with you, loving flow, Now Now Now. - Maggie Winfrey
These words invite me into Centering Prayer, my place of peace and a practice originating with the Desert Mothers and Fathers of the third century. As I live in the busyness of the world, this invocation helps me transition from a mind full of constant motion to stillness, with a focus on my chosen sacred word. Sometimes my transition is effortless, and I experience a groundedness that words cannot express. In those moments, I feel God’s presence in my breathing and bask in the Big Love (channeling Ed Bacon here) that envelopes me. Life “of the world” is suspended, and I feel unmoored – yet moored in the stillness. Pesky and rampant thoughts do their best to invade my sacred love space, and I gently invite them to move on and out of my consciousness.
But at other times (and in all honesty, much of the time), those pesky rampant thoughts dominate my Centering Prayer time. In fact, I often “wake” with a jolt to realize that I have been off on a prolonged thought tangent. At that point, I gently return to my sacred word, avoiding chastising myself for “not doing it right.” But as a sage (perhaps John Westerhoff?) once advised, I keep practicing in the hope and faith that my 20 minutes of stillness will become my practice.
I am so grateful for my special place of peace; for Maggie Winfrey, who wrote the invocation above and leads our Centering Prayer zoom group every Tuesday; and for my St. Luke’s and other friends who join me in sharing our sacred space. I hold fast to my desire to honor the words from Psalm 131:2:
But I still my soul and make it quiet ,
Like a child upon its mother’s breast,
My soul is quieted within me.
Sue McAvoy has been involved with a variety of ministries at St. Luke’s since she joined in 1981 and currently co-chairs the Ebenezer-St. Luke’s Partnership’s Potluck and Fellowship Action Group.