Friday, 3 April 2009

Come and see...

Just as a brief followup on my post on the Gospel of last week (Jn 12:20-33) in which the Greeks asked Philip is they could see Jesus. In the post I reflected on the theme "Come and see", a phrase central to in initial calling of Andrew and John (Jn 1:39) and Nathanael (Jn 1:46).

The only way to really discover who Jesus is, that He is real and what He is all about is to actually come and meet Him. So now I just want to give a few suggestion on how this "come and see" can actually happen. In order to give a bit of an idea of a starting point I will give a few forms of prayer which were, and are, fundamental when I initially came to know Christianity.

Basically, we need to spend time with God in order to get to know him. This is natural in a way, maybe it does not feel that way from the point of view that we spend time with Jesus, a person who we cannot visible perceive, but in the way that relationships work. In any relationship we need to spend time with the other person in order to build up a friendship, and once a friendship is formed we have to keep it alive and active. And similar it is with God, we need to build up a relation with God by spending time with Him, to "come and see". In Saint John's gospel we read that Jesus himself tells us to do so, as He asked Andrew and John: "What do you seek?" And they said to him, "Rabbi", "where are you staying?" He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where he was staying;" (Joh 1:38-39 RSV)

So where do we start?
When I initially opened my heart to God I started to do three things:

First, I decided to go into a Church every day on my way back from work, and I was lucky as this church had perpetual adoration. Initially I just poped in for a few minutes, and asked God to open my heart to Him, and to let mje know that He excisted and was activily involved in my life. Then I would often slowly say an Our Father, just as Jesus instructed us: "Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven..." (Mat 6:9 RSV).

These few minutes slowly increased to longer periods as I learned how to pray more, but also when I started to appreciate to be with Jesus in the chapel, and found the peace which only He can give us. However, I am quick to say that this developed over a time of weeks if not months, our relations with God are always slow and not quick as we are used to in our instant society. Eventually I tried to spend an hour a few days a week in adoration, or at least half an hour, in which I might say a rosary, read scripture and, especially when I started to enjoy prayer more, tried to be quite and listen to God.

Secondly, I made a commitment to read half a chapter of the New Testament every night before I went to bed. I said a quick prayer, thanking God for the day and asking a blessing for the next one, and then picked up the "Word of God" and read for a few minutes. I always hold that this was the biggest single influence in my conversion in the initial months, the reading of the Word of God, and the excounter with it as the words kind of lift off the page and become living words which are relevant to ones own personal life here and now.

Then thirdly, I learned to say the Rosary, and started to pray the Rosary on a daily basis, meditating on the life of Christ and in this way deepening my understanding of the mysteries on which we reflect in the Rosary. We can always ask our Blessed Mother to help us to find Jesus in our lives, and she will never disappoint us to show us her son. We don't worship Mary, but we ask her to bring us to Jesus...

So these were just three simple and brief starting points for somebody on the road to meet our Lord, a life changing encounter as I testify to. I am not sure if readers if this blog would be interesting in more and maybe slightly longer reflections on the road to prayer, but if so, please leave a comment on this article, and I will pick up the tread.

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