Jesus, I feel within me a great desire to please you but, at the same time, I feel totally incapable of doing this without your special light and help, which I can expect only from you. Accomplish your will within me—even in spite of me.
—St. Claude la Colombiere, SJ (Found in the book Hearts on Fire)
I believe certain prayers find us when we need them. I heard Claude la Colombiere’s prayer for the first time several years ago when I worked for Charis Ministries. The executive director at the time opened one of our staff meetings with this prayer. Not only was the prayer fitting to the season of growth within our ministry, but it also resonated strongly with me on a personal level. It became a mantra for me for over a year in a lengthy season of transition, and then as quickly as it entered my life, it exited, having served its purpose.
This little prayer, made up of 46 words, made its way back into my prayer life this Lent. It nudges and tugs at me as I seek to clarify the desires of my heart that I am very aware are there, yet I cannot quite name them. It frustrates me when I feel God is calling me to something, but I cannot name it. I get impatient wanting to act, but knowing there is no move I can make, because the gift of clarity eludes me.
Have you ever felt like this, when you notice a growing desire within, but you are not sure what it means? That’s the season I’m in—a season of noticing. Noticing the desire within. Noticing the way my heart swells, ready to burst. Noticing that there are new growing invitations before me, but they don’t quite make sense. Noticing that on any given day I move between the emotions of excitement and fear as I wait to see what God is unfolding before me. Noticing that change and transition are a piece of my life, yet again.
God is not absent in this season by any means. God is very present in the desires of my heart, in the growing invitation to the calls before me, and in the gift of this little prayer making itself back into my life. It gives me great hope in this season of newness, change, and transition, especially when my fears or doubts rise up within me. It is then, when I feel I have no other words to pray, I can lean on the penned prayer of Colombiere: “Accomplish your will within me—even in spite of me.” Through this gift of a man that lived before me, God offers me a way of praying through this season of noticing.
Becky, I came upon this prayer and your writing today. I think I am in the place you described. Being in the midst of a long term life transition I want to know what my next step is but it’s not evident or even possible yet. So I have decided, since it’s in God’s hands and time, to be actively patient. What I mean by that is to wait for the next step to be available while paying attention so I recognize it’s appearance.
Thank you for your perspective, it helped me to hope I’m on the right track.