Oct 11, 2009

Praying for the Gift of Tears

Sometimes others know us better than we know ourselves and while this week, which is my last week at BustedHalo®, will recall much laughter and happiness in celebrating nine years, I know it will also bring many happy and sad tears.

I think that at least one of my friends sensed that and therefore, I received this note via facebook from one of my best friends from college, Joonmo which he received from his pastor.

Some months ago I had a conversation with a lady who was experiencing considerable distress and who was adding to her problems by expressing total frustration with her tears. I don't know if she will see this. I came across it in a beautiful book by Fr. Edward Hays; a book on prayer which includes the following in a chapter called The Prayer of Tears.

"Our Eyes are not only the windows of the soul and organs of enjoyment, they are also the instruments of joy and sorrow. While we feel deeply, the pain of departure, or the intense experience of other emotions, these are not easily shown. Our eyes are sacraments for these beautiful and deeply felt feelings. Even our tears become a way for us to "pray all ways."

"Tears and laughter are universal languages, for they are understood by people of every nation. Crying is part of our basic birth equipment and so is a gift from God. While it's embarrassing, it is also an honest and an incarnational or bodily prayer that reaches the ear and heart of God."

The Prayer of Tears
Lord, Beloved God
since all communion with You is prayer, may even my tears be
psalms of petition and canticles of praise to You.
This is a prayer that You value greatly: the prayer of my tears;
it is a prayer that you always hear, for, You are a compassionate and kind God.
And, Lord, I know you understand - that when I am overcome by
tears - unable to speak or form a prayer - that these very tears voice volumes of verses.
All truly great prayer - rises from deep inside and springs spontaneously to the surface.
It would then seem - that from among the many beautiful prayers,
the scared songs and canticles of praise, my tears my be the best worship of all.
Help me not to be ashamed of them; show me how I can let go of control and
let this prayer of my heart, my tears, flow naturally and freely to You
my Blessed Lord and Divine Lover. In times of joy and sorrow, blessed be my tears,
the Holy prayer of my heart. Amen.

These are thoughts for reflection.
"The heart is the happiest when it beats for others."
"You can accomplish more in one hour with God than one lifetime without Him."
"Jesus is a friend who walks in when the world has walked out."

With love in Christ,
Father Paul J. Henry

Indeed this, as many of those close to me know, describes me and my prayer perfectly. When I am touched by the spirit, I begin to cry and I really don't know why it happens but it does. As a man, it used to be somewhat embarrassing to me, but since I couldn't help or control it, I didn't quite know how to stop doing it--and moreover, didn't know if I should try to stop doing it or hiding my tears.

Some people grew uncomfortable with my tears, shifting in their seats, looking away, or even laughing at bit. Most people though, grew more open-hearted. They seemed to resonate with me most when these genuine tears would flow in prayer or in sharing how God is alive in my life. I indeed noticed that when I just allowed myself to be touched by God's spirit and even explained what was happening, people seemed to be comfortable with what was happening to me.

Besides these beautiful words given to us today by Joonmo's pastor, St Ignatius talks about "the gift of tears." In fact, Ignatius tells us that we should pray for this great gift, of having our hearts moved so much by God that we are moved to tears.

The great basketball coach, Jim Valvano, in his famous speech at the ESPY Awards in 1993 said there are three things we should all do each day, think, laugh and cry. His speech is always worth re-hearing and so, here it is. It's about 10 minutes but it's time well spent:

And pray each day to be as blessed as all of us who receive the gift of tears.


god googler said...

Via Facebook:

From Joonmo Ku

Mike, Thank you for passing the prayer on to others. I saw you cry during your entire wedding, as I did during most of my confirmation on Easter Sunday at Fordham in 1991. Real men cry...as the prayer stated, it is part of us the moment we are born. The first thing a baby does upon entering this world is cry. If a baby does not cry upon birth something usually is terribly wrong. Catharsis; one of my favorite words. To cry is to let go; letting go of our happiness, letting go of our sadness. It is a way to express ourselves without uttering a word. When we are truly overcome by joy and happiness we cry rather than laugh. I know you will be crying a lot in the upcoming weeks. God is always with you at these times and I will be praying for you. Let go and let live. Your tears have moved hearts and will continue to touch us deeply and most sincerely for many more years to come. Go with God my friend and cry your heart out!

Your friend always in God~ Joonmo

god googler said...

Via Facebook: From Connie Lane Neuman:

A friend told me...who?...that our tears are precious to God...that the Spirit saves each one of them.

god googler said...

Via Facebook:

From Cindee Case

I find it interesting that you reflect upon tears... I was thinking the other day that I haven't cried much since my Mom's funeral, and that I am sure the tears are there just looking for a time to sneak out. I will remember that when it finally happens again, it will be a form a prayer. Thanks for that.

Googling God

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