Theophan the Recluse, a 19th century Russian monk, speaks of ‘a spark of grace’ that appears in our hearts. In writing about the Jesus Prayer, he suggests that although prayer itself does not produce the spark, it can help us receive it. Yesterday I received that spark.
In The Hermitage Journals: A Diary Kept While Working on the Biography of Thomas Merton, John Howard Griffin writes about both his and Merton’s awareness that that God was seeking them. In paraphrasing Merton, Griffin says, “I am here, not because I come here seeking God, but because God wants to find me.”
Griffin continues, “’I am here where Christ wants to find me.’ That is enough. No seeking, because there in the surrounding silence all that would otherwise be loneliness is filled with Christ, filled with that ravishment.”
A spark of grace for me. Here I am, trying so hard to find God, laboring to let God in, thinking that I control God, when just maybe God is trying to find me, let me in, control me. Here I am in this beautiful place, surrounded by silence, solitude and simplicity. This is God’s place, not mine. God has invited me in. “Surely God is in this place, and I didn’t know it.”