To address ‘our father in heaven’ - consciously, directly and with loving intention is no small thing. To choose to say it daily is a choice that has had a greater impact on my life and well being than any other ‘big’ choice- like which country I live in or what work I do or the other life choices that have loomed large in my mind.
This choice is still evolving. For years I flirted nervously and skirted reluctantly around Father-God language – or sought to balance it with Mother language. That is, I did that until some deep inner healing of the masculine and feminine began to change my manner of praying. (I believe that honouring of Miriam of Magdala had much to do with that particular sea change. ) Whatever change took place one observable effect of it was that I stopped stumbling over masculine words in prayer because I was able to simply free-fall through the words to a quieter deeper place.
Saying the words ‘Our father in heaven’
sends a piercing arrow straight to the heart
vibrates like a sounding fork in the soul
turns the key in the door of the inner room
and catches the eye of the Beloved
a steady gazing on my true face.
So we can fall into saying the words, as I believe Miriam might have, as a choice to connect with the source of spiritual life. As simple and as vital as that – a daily conscious choice to connect with the life of the heart. No small thing this – to keep on remembering our source of life.
It it a returning the mind to the heart which, according to ancient and proverbial wisdom is the deepest core of the soul. From this fountain-head the soul is watered, softened, irrigated to become a fertile ground. The pithy saying from the book of proverbs comes to mind: ‘Guard the heart with all vigilance, for from it flows all life .
It is a falling back into love as a state of soul and way of being. As Francisco de Osuna, my teacher beyond the grave suggests- theLords Prayer is our very human way of referring back to the terms of the divine/human love agreement– love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind - and love your neighbour as yourself.
It is a falling into quiet to retune into the constant movements of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Tuning into it not as a defunct or a second hand doctrine but beginning to sense the dynamic process of interactions for ourselves. First hand.
So many words try to capture this first hand experience and many begin with ‘in’. You can sound them out like a playful litany: interchanging, indwelling, infusing, interpenetrating, intimations, inspiring, intimacy…..
Such an endless unfolding of life these words ‘our father in heaven’ can take us into!