FOR TODAY Read and compare the poem Go to the Limits of Your Longing by Rainer Maria Rilke to Psalm 139:1-14. Go to the Limits of Your Longing by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Joanna Macy God speaks to each of us as he makes us, then walks with us silently out of the night. These are the words we dimly hear: You, sent out beyond your recall, go to the limits of your longing. Embody me. Flare up like a flame and make big shadows I can move in. Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final. Don’t let yourself lose me. Nearby is the country they call life. You will know it by its seriousness. Give me your hand.
This poem speaks of the very gift of life as something extraordinarily sacred. “God makes each of us.” Compare this poem to Psalm 139:1-14 So often we seek the beauty in life, but we avoid the terror. And yet God is with us in all of life: the beauty and the terror. God is making more of our life than we realize. The purpose of your life is bigger than your accomplishments or failures in any given day.
Psalm 139: 1-14 O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it. Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you. For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION How does this prayer impact your expectations for the purpose of the day before you? What does it mean for you to embody God?
EXPECT This first week focuses on the word expect. It is an Advent word. It is a word that reminds us that God is always at work in the world and in our lives. At times, God is working so deeply in the soil of our life, that we are not yet aware of its bloom. So, we wait. We expect. October 18 Devotional October 17 Devotional October 16 Devotional October 15 Devotional