By: Sharon Nelsen
Pondering leads to performance.
Performance does not take us always to understanding, knowing, holding onto the revelations we receive. Sometimes we rush into things and then wonder afterwards if what we did was the Father'sWill or our own inclination.
Mary pondered the word in her heart. Her response, her action, her performance flowed out of that process and bore fruit.
I pray: Dear Mary, teach me how to ponder the word of God.
And I ask:
What are the elements of pondering?
1) Listening, which requires
- being open to the “message” --that which stirs my heart
- concentrating on that message long enough to recall it
2) Repeating the message to myself until it is part of my long-term memory
- as I go about my daily tasks
- writing it down AND re-reading it
3) Savoring the message
- in a quiet place set aside
- repeat, repeat, repeat until I “taste” the words
- connect its message, its meaning to my present situation
4) Acting on the message
-praying for confidence
-proceeding in trust
In the January issue of “Give us This Day,” there was a quote from Maisie Ward, co-founder of Sheed and Ward Publishing, that spoke to me about pondering:
“It is the chief characteristic of a life lived for God
that there is time in it for everything that matters.”
Pondering matters. I decided to focus on pondering for Lent, which fit well with the “Exercise in Love” that was already included in my Lenten journey. Perhaps the Lord had more for me to ponder?
With that in mind, I re-read each entry in my January journal. I became aware that particular phrases really moved me as I re-read. I decided to collect them into Lenten pondering, mindful that God will not overburden me. I also trust that God will lead me to a particular item on the list as I am faithful to this forty day exercise, so I am not concerned about the sequence as I recorded it.
1. Pray for constancy.
2. To experience “Boundless Love” (St. Catherine of Siena's phrase), turn to God
- in my loneliness
- when I feel overwhelmed
- in my deepest desires
3. “We have this confidence in Him, that if we ask anything according to His Will, He hears us.” (1John 5.14 NAB) “And this is the confidence which we have toward God: that no matter what we shall request, in accord with his will, he hears us.” (NRSV)
4. May my worldly wants decrease and God's desires for me increase.
5. “Listen for the truth of a thing and obey what makes your heart more human.”
(Joan Chittister, OSB)
6. Constantly trust in God's Goodness, in God, Goodness Itself.
7. No one can walk your path for you.
8. “Exercise in Love.”
If you are so inclined, ask the Holy Spirit to assist you in making your own Lenten Pondering List from the words that seem to keep coming back to you, stand out a little, bring comfort, move you in some way.
Teach us how to ponder God's word to us.
Be with us so that with you,
We may be blessed,
Believing what we hear,
And acting upon it.