Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Long Obligatory Prayer, Part 5

Let him then stand and say:
Make my prayer, O my Lord, a fountain of living waters whereby I may live as long as Thy sovereignty endureth, and may make mention of Thee in every world of Thy worlds.

When I was a kid, it was something of a joke that a good morning's workout could be had by going to church, especially if you were Catholic. Stand up. Sit down. Kneel. Stand up. Kneel. It could actually be quite cardio if you did it right. Perhaps Baha'u'llah was trying to help us keep in shape, not only spiritually, but physically, too, with this prayer.

Anyways, where were we? Ah yes. on our knees, basically reminding ourselves of just how far above us God is, and that it is really God's will that should concern us, for our own will is really just so small and fallible. And although we know that God is really far above us, in a sense, by getting on our knees we further emphasize that point.

But now we stand. It is almost as if by kneeling and remembering our station, that of a servant, we are now being lovingly reminded that we are also noble creations of a divine Creator. By reaffirming this distance between us, we are now ready to humbly ask a bounty, a boon. Remember, so far we have only asked that our prayer be made a fire that will burn away the veils keeping us out from His beauty. Now we are asking our second request, and again it is for our prayer. (I don't really count the request to ignore my hopes. That just seems obvious.)

Previously, we asked our prayer to be made like a fire, burning away the veils. This time we are asking that our prayer be like water, continually replenishing and giving forth its sweet refreshment like the water of a fountain. And the reason for this request is so that we may live in all the worlds of creation and continue to make mention of God in each and every one of them.

This, to me, is the request of a lover. It reminds me of that longing of the Master's, found in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, "O that I could travel, even though on foot and in the utmost poverty, to these regions, and, raising the call of "Ya Baha'u'l-Abha" in cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, promote the divine teachings!" It is as He also says, in another Tablet, "...He gave thee taste to find the sweetness of the love of God; He gave thee a tongue to mention Him."

And then, as if to further emphasize this connection, the prayer goes on.

Let him again raise his hands in supplication, and say:
O Thou in separation from Whom hearts and souls have melted, and by the fire of Whose love the whole world hath been set aflame! I implore Thee by Thy Name through which Thou hast subdued the whole creation, not to withhold from me that which is with Thee, O Thou Who rulest over all men! Thou seest, O my Lord, this stranger hastening to his most exalted home beneath the canopy of Thy majesty and within the precincts of Thy mercy; and this transgressor seeking the ocean of Thy forgiveness; and this lowly one the court of Thy glory; and this poor creature the orient of Thy wealth. Thine is the authority to command whatsoever Thou willest. I bear witness that Thou art to be praised in Thy doings, and to be obeyed in Thy behests, and to remain unconstrained in Thy bidding.

Once more we raise our hands in supplication. Now we ask that we be near to God, or more specifically, not to be denied that which is with God.

Starting at the beginning of this paragraph, though, we see this reminder of love. When my wife goes off on tour I often feel as if my heart has melted. How much more so when I contemplate my distance from God? When she returns, I feel as if I am set aflame, ready to go out and conquer the world with our love. And that love is but a pale comparison to that divine love of God.

With this intimate reminder of that love, we beg for that which is with God. And what exactly is that? I'm not sure. I mean, as I always say, I'm not an authority on this stuff. I'm just one guy sitting here at home writing down a few thoughts that go through my head when I read these writings. So with that in mind, and a piece of chocolate in my mouth (always helps, you know), I tend to think of it is the various virtues, those attributes of God in which image we are created.

Then there is the list of attributes which I seem to be seeking. I am a stranger, and I want to be closer. I have broken His laws and I long to be forgiven. I am lowly, and I want to become more noble. I am poor and I seek to become enriched. And yet, in all of this, I am still cognizant of my low station, and the importance of relying on God's will.

This prayer really is a beautiful reminder of so many things.

No comments:

Post a Comment