A few months ago I had a very difficult time physically. I'd had a very mystical dream, and immediately my body seemed to be plunged into the dark night of the body. My soul didn't feel so great either.
A beloved friend prayed for my healing at this time. I think she wanted to know why God wasn't rushing to heal me. If I'm not mistaken, she thinks He's sweet on me, and she probably wondered what was up with all that terrible suffering.
God told her He had Mair in His hands.
I knew He did because despite the pain He gave me many, many gifts of grace. Jesus asks His children to buy from Him gold tried in the refiners fire. I think I know how you pay for that now. Anyway, during this time she and I IM'd and emailed each other, and one evening she told me about a book that she reads every night. She said it speaks to her so deeply, that it's like having Jesus be the last voice she hears before she goes to bed. I was jealous. I want Jesus' voice to be the last one I hear before I go to bed, too! And so I bought that book. It's called, God Calling.
God Calling is much like some books I loved, the diaries of Nicole Gausseron. Ironically, a beloved friend sent me Nicole's books when I was very physically ill. She said she'd send me some "vitamins". I got a package of all three diaries wrapped in a bag from The Limited. You have to know this very special pumpkin to love her! And my, my, she is one of my special ones. I devoured my vitamins, and then made Carlean read them. Poor Carlean. She has to read all the books I fall in love with, but don't feel sorry for her. Because of Carlean I have a Jewish Tallit!
But I digress. Nicole's books are about a very deep relationship with God where she simply sits in adoration--something amazing that Catholics do that I also am jealous of. In my horrid perception of Catholic theology, I'll say that sitting in adoration is sitting in the presence of the Eucharist, which they believe to be--as do we Orthodox--the mystical body of Christ. Someone is to sit with Christ, just adoring Him, at all times, 24/7. This was a favorite activity of Nicole's. When Jesus would say something to her, since she was hanging around anyway, she write what He said in a little notebook.
God Calling is a book that came about when a retired teacher asked her friend, another retired teacher, "Does God still speak to people?" Since they were poor, and sick, and retired, and didn't have much else to do, the other said, "Why don't we see." They met for prayer and Bible reading, and then a period of listening. They did this for 29 days with nary a word from God. On the thirtieth day, while listening, they both begin to write at the same time. They wrote the exact same words.
Insert Twilight Zone music here.
These weren't tripped out wanna-be-mystics into "automatic writing". This had nothing to do with channeling. They were a couple of retired, teachers who needed to know if God was still around because they were suffering. And He was.
For the next 365 days the women, the two listeners, wrote the exact same words, at the same time, during the listening time. Amazing! When both ladies had died, they willed that the work be sent to a man named A.J. Russell, the editor of a hot, London newspaper. He sent it to every good theologian he could drum up, and when all said they found nothing outside of orthodoxy, he published the book and called it God Calling. The names of the teachers were never revealed in the book. They remain to this day, "two listeners."
I can't tell you what this book means to me. It's a constant companion. I've given away copies of it already, and I'm certain that the people I shared it with will share it. I found a wonderful resource, a website dedicated to the book. You can find it here.
You can read along every day, and on the homepage you can even subscribe for the messages to come to your email daily, but buy the book. Nothing like a book.
In the testimonial section of the site a man urged readers to see if your birthday doesn't speak to you. I did this. Not only was it spot on something that I'd probably need to deal with for the rest of my life, it is practically instructions on how to deal with something God is asking me to do.
Here's what it says:
September 1 - It Is Enough
Listen and I will speak.
I seldom force an entrance through many voices and distracting thoughts. There must be first the coming apart and then the stilling of all else as you wait in My Presence. Is it not enough that you are with Me?
Let that sometimes suffice.
It is truly much that I speak to you. But unless My Indwelling Spirit is yours, how can you carry out My wishes and live as I would have you live?
I hope you go to the link and hang out with Jesus. I'm pretty sure He'll chat you up. It's hard to miss Him in God Calling.
Be blessed. And just for fun, this my favorite poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, from his Book of Hours, Love Poems to God. The translation is by Burrows and Macy.
God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by it's seriousness.
Give me your hand.