« Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you ; I do not give it to you as the world gives peace.” (John 14,27). This peace is Jesus Himself, the « Prince of peace » (Is. 9,6). In this « exchange of friendship », which orison is, we prepare ourselves in a particular way to welcome Jesus, therefore his peace, and to benefit by it all the rest of the day.
Source of unity
Orison is source of unity, it keeps us away from dispersion, allows us to collect ourselves (in what is rightly called « orison of recollection »). We are then ready to welcome. The body, as it remains motionless, relaxed, favours a « letting go » within the soul. We accept not to lead anything anymore… Someone is looking after us ! We make ourselves particularly aware of God’s presence. Orison is getting away, a special time, a resting « break ». We play our part with this disengagement, but above all, there is Jesus’s presence who unifies : « Give me an undivided heart that it may fear your Name » (ps.86,11), or, in another translation : « Direct my heart… ». During prayer, our heart “is gathered up”, “pacified ; » less dispersed, less focused on itself too, it can « fear » the name of the Lord more, that is, put itself « under his control », in dependence on his grace of peace, tenderness, love, forgiveness…like a little chick huddled under its mother’s wing ! Away from any bustle and worries – in what is rightly named « orison of quietness » or simple gaze – we know (even if it is only through faith which is different from feeling or experiencing) that God is here. We know He is looking at us and enfolding us in His love. In Him we are secure. He is our shield (ps.84,11), in the very heart of storms. Orison sharpens our trust which gives rise to peace and joy as experienced by the three young men in the furnace, in the Book of Daniel. No, it is not peace according to the world, devoid of any warfare, but a peace coming from the intimate Presence of the divine Host, who both dwells in us and surrounds us with his love.
A safe shelter
A life of orison helps us to live more in the present moment, without turning needlessly towards the past, or projecting oneself in the future, and to pass over our moods or impressions, which change as fast as the weather forecast. God is what is important and He does not change. Orison teaches us to bring everything back to God, even our inner variable moods. He is our support, this Sun which towers over our oasis, our deserts, the caravan of our thoughts, of our distractions. Saint Therese of Lisieux wrote in one of her poems : « Above the clouds : the Sky is always blue / where the Good God reigns. » (PN 52). She says the same things comparing herself to the little bird that has not the strength of contemplation of an eagle ; therefore, it is an important point to keep in mind : « With a bold surrender, it wants to remain fixing its divine Sun… »
Trust and surrender
Peace, trust and abandonment are intimately linked to the fruits of the Spirit to whom, through prayer, we will be more docile: “Let yourselves be led by the Spirit (…) the fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace, trust (…)” (cf. Gal 5:16-24).
We see how trust and surrender are a good breeding ground for living, even in a storm, inner peace, Peace, trust and surrender are intimately linked with the fruits of the Spirit, to whom, through prayer, we will be more docile: Let the Spirit lead you (…) the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, trust (…) (cf.Ga.5,16- 24). The ennemies of peace are doubt, worries, disobedience to the Holy Spirit, and sin of course. « Have no anxiety about anything, but, in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let our requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus » (Ph.4,6-7) Here, the Apostle tells us clearly that peace is a fruit of orison. Let us think of Jesus when he tells Martha : « Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the better portion, which shall not be taken away from her » (Luc 10,41). Jesus emphasizes being present to His Presence before anything else; orison is the privileged place, but it must gradually reflect on all the rest of our activities. Whether or not we feel His Presence is Bulletin n°23 – page 3 not the main thing, but it is rather to immerse ourselves in this certainty of faith that the Sun of love, the source of peace, is always here, and that we must first of all nourish ourselves with his Presence : « The soul immerses itself in peace, or, better said, the Lord immerses it through His presence » (Sainte Therese d’Avila, Way to perfection 31,2).
New way of life
A life of orison inclines us, every morning, to be more at God’s disposal. We stop controlling our personnal projects in order to enter into God’s plan, which we discover little by little. We learn to live day by day. Of course we have our responsabilities, our work, our schedules, but without exaggerated attachment, with the right distance. Orientation can be changed if circumstances require it, one ajusts oneself to unforseen events, etc.
A man who prays is not a « superman », he lives with his weaknesses, worries, handicaps, sins, but in the midst of the hazards and pains of this life, he gets used to to relying on Somebody, as Christ himself invites us to : « Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matt.11,28). Beyond the surface eddies, a truly praying person knows that his centre is deeper, that his joy, his peace and his strength come from elsewhere, from this inner Host. Peace is not first of all the product of our psychology or our efforts, but rather a gift of the Spirit that makes us appreciate everything in a new way: « Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind » Rom.12,2). This new way of life gives us more confidence, stamina, facing the trials and worries of life, because our hope is then in Him who loves us and gives us Life, with the promise of eternal Rest to taste from today !
« I applied myself carefully, and even during my work, to the presence of God, whom I always considered near me… And my soul, which until then was always troubled, felt deep inner peace. » Laurent of the Resurrection
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Find the previous articles in our “Life of prayer” series.
(publication edited by brothers and sisters of the Community of the Beatitudes – © rights reserved).