I recently shared with you a reflection from my annual silent retreat. I’d like to share another image that I received at the very beginning of those days spent in prayer.
In this meditation, St. Ignatius of Loyola invited me to follow him, and he led me over to a very small, arched opening at the base of a wall (like the one in this picture I found), encouraging me to go through it. Our Blessed Mother, smiling, was on the right side of the entrance sitting on a low stool, and she beckoned me to go through the opening also.
I was eager to do so, and yet in this prayer image I had all this stuff that I was carrying on me. I had a big, bulky backpack on. I had a front pack around my waist. I had a shoulder bag hanging off my side, and a smaller bag draped around my neck. I was laden down with a lot of baggage.
There was no way that I could fit through that small arch in the wall with what I was carrying. I had to take all those things off. So I lifted the shoulder bag and put that aside; wiggled my arms out of the backpack and set that down; undid the front pack and took the bag from around my neck, adding those to the pile.
Now that I was free from what I was carrying, I had to lay down on the ground on my stomach and slowly inch my way through that opening. I knew this was an invitation to go deeper with God. The Lord wanted to show me some new things, reveal some new insights during this retreat, but first I needed to let go of some burdens, obstructions, worries that I was carrying into this time of prayer. All that was weighing me down and preventing me from moving into what He had for me.
There was such freedom as I let go of burdens that I thought I was responsible for, things I thought I had to fix and couldn’t, and again let Him be my Savior — and let Him be the Savior of the people in my life whom I love and carry in my heart.
It was an invitation to be little.
And Jesus said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3-4
This imagery was so powerful in my prayer: surrendering all that I was carrying, getting on the ground to crawl through a small opening, so that I could encounter God in a new way. Another graced moment of surrender and letting God be God.
What burdens are you carrying today? Take a moment in prayer to lay those down at the feet of the Lord and let Him carry that load. He will do a much better job with it than we ever could.
“Cast all your worries upon the Lord because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7