November 12, 2015

Set your Mind on What is Above

Set your mind on what is above, Saint Paul advises in Colossians 3:2. He himself who was once caught up in hatred and rash judgment understood how earthly dreams and worldly influences pull good hearts into irrational currents. Having survived shipwrecks, he knew how easy it was to drown when one allows oneself to be swept away by these deep waters. Through his own weakness, he knew that only the One who is from above can rescue us from the destructive forces here below. Having seen and heard the Risen Lord, he knew how our faith in Christ raises up our mind to see new saving wonders, eternal blessings no irrationality can ever overthrow.

To set our minds on what is above is not a matter of avoiding difficulties and challenges that cause us to question everything. These ambiguities are a necessary part of our existence in this life. Yet we are not to allow ourselves to be anxious or despondent in the face of them. These trials are not meant to destroy our integrity or imprison us in alienation. These things from below are permitted only so that we might raise our eyes to the One who comes for us.

The One who is from above walks towards us on the stormy sea of this life. He has called us to meet Him there. He yearns that we too might find solid footing, that we might follow him on the surface of this world's waves. He takes us out of our loneliness with His own hand and stands us up right even as the ground shakes beneath us. To fix the minds eye on Him and to listen with the ear of our heart is not to escape or evade such a great gift, but to finally begin to welcome it -- to live it to the full!

Contemplative prayer is the effort to keep our eyes fixed on His on the rough waters of this life's journey.  Such mental prayer bathed in holy silence and grounded in the truth is the effort to set our minds on what is above.  As we set out to greet Him on the surface of all kinds of danger and threats, we only make progress to the degree that we gaze into the face of the One who awaits us with love. Even when the storm of this life causes us to lose our footing, as long as we keep our eyes fixated on His, we will not sink or lose ourselves. If our attention is diverted for a moment by surging anxieties and fear, all we need to do is call out and He comes to pull us up with Him.  In this effort to pray, He is saving us from the dangers here below with His power from above.