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|Personal Letter to the Reader|
|Introduction: Letting Go||1|
|Pt. 1||False Accusation||13|
|Meditation: Emptying Oneself||15|
|Meditation: Suffering in Communion with the Lord||45|
|Pt. 3||A Priest First, A Patient Second||75|
|Meditation: "As Those Who Serve"||77|
|Pt. 4||Befriending Death||121|
|Meditation: "Come to Me All You Who Are Weary and Find Life Burdensome"||123|
|Conclusion: The Gift of Peace||149|
God speaks very gently to us when he invites us to make more room for him in our lives. The tension that arises comes not from him but from me as I struggle to find out how to offer him fuller hospitality and then to do it wholeheartedly. The Lord is clear about what he wants, but it is really difficult to let go of myself and my work and trust him completely. The first step of letting go, of course, is linked with my emptying myself of everything--the plans I consider the largest as well as the distractions I judge the smallest--so that the Lord really can take over.
St. Paul's description of Jesus' mission is never far from my thoughts: "Though he was in the form of God, he did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather, he emptied himself and took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. He was known to be of human estate, and it was thus that he humbled himself, obediently accepting death, death on a cross" (Phil 2:6-8).
To close the gap between what I am and what God wants of me, I must empty myself and let Jesus come in and take over. I have prayed to understand his agenda for me. Some things stand out. He wants me to focus on the essentials of his message and way of life rather than on the accidentals that needlessly occupy so much of our time and efforts. One can easily distinguish essentials from peripherals in the spiritual life. Essentials ask us to give true witness and to love others more. Nonessentials close us in on ourselves.
It is unsettling to pray to be emptied of self; it seems a challenge almost beyond our reach as humans. But if we try, I have learned, God does most of the work. I must simply let myself go in love and trust of the Lord.
When the hand of God's purpose enters my life, however, it is usually not from the front, as I have always expected, but from the side, in murmurs and whispers that not only surprise but soon empty me beyond anything I could imagine.