My friend Joe suggested I try welcoming prayer. The name is so friendly sounding, isn't it? Welcoming Prayer! You half expect it to greet you with a grin, a pitcher of lemonade, and plate full of brownies. "Come on in here, girl, and talk to Jesus!" I wasn't quite sure exactly what the welcoming prayer was, so after some clarification from Joe, I googled, and found this on Busted Halo:
" history of the Welcoming Prayer is a little surprising. It’s not an ancient practice, though it’s an ancient idea. Mary Mrozowski of Brooklyn, New York — a practitioner of Centering Prayer and friend of Father Thomas Keating — developed the method. She was inspired by Abandonment to Divine Providence, an early 18th century spiritual work by Jesuit priest and spiritual director, Father Jean Pierre de Caussade. Father Thomas and others saw the value of her little method and over the years it has been supported, fine-tuned and expanded, within the community of people who practice Centering Prayer and beyond.
If you are struggling with a bad feeling, the power of this little method is that it offers a structured way to embrace and accept it, so you can release it and move on. There are three phases to the Welcoming Prayer. You might go directly from one to the next in a single, relatively formulaic prayer sequence. Or you might find yourself staying in one phase as it does its interior work. Using Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault’s labels, the three parts are:
- Focus and sink in.
- Let go."
It's awful to sit with such terrible, negative feelings. They feel monstrous, like they'll devour me. To consider focusing on them and welcoming them frightens me. But maybe I'm giving them too much power. What is anger? Sorrow? Even humiliation? All of these I've felt before. And worse! All of them were feelings Jesus experienced as well. He isn't afraid of the either. Still, I resist. But it can't be worst than what I've got going on right now.
I'll let you know how it goes. And thanks for listening.