Attend

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Attend is the fourth, final gesture in the body prayer of Julian of Norwich. You move your hands from your heart outward, away from your person in a reaching posture. You stand with your hands outstretched, ready to be responsive. In this closing gesture you wordlessly, kinesthetically, attend to what you are called to – ‘actions that G*d invites you to from this stance of openness’. It is in this posture that you welcome and experience your body’s deeper openness. In this gesture you also sense Presence in a way that is less mediated by your mind. As a daily practice, the physical habit of praying this way moves you out of the mind as your primary conscious filter and you reconnect with your being’s inherent oneness with G*d in all things.

As you end your body prayer you enter your day ready to attend and live life as you experience it in your prayer. Sometimes, it is difficult and challenging, sometimes it is easy and pleasant. Sometimes it is just what you want to do and other times it is not what you want to do. Somehow, the habit of this prayer sustains you and allows you to feel inwardly one with G*d even when the worldly events around you do not. Eventually, over time, you encounter this connection in and through your daily tasks in “habitual recollection,” what Saint Paul calls “prayer without ceasing.”

Julian of Norwich sees this process as a ‘Divine Paradox’. The willingness to dwell in seeking and waiting, leads to a faithful trust. Not a trust in the coming of a resolution to the paradox, but a trust that G*d is present within it. She calls this the ‘Beatific Vision; seek intentionally; wait steadfastly; trust mightily.’

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” -Romans 8

 

 

 

 

 

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