Prayer and the Way of Downward Mobility

“Prayer means letting God’s creative love touch the most hidden places of our being and letting Jesus’ way of the cross, his way of downward mobility, truly become our way. And prayer means listening with attentive, undivided hearts, to the inner movements of the Spirit of Jesus, even when that Spirit leads us to places we would rather not go. . . .

I say this with great compassion: we are living in an upwardly mobile society, a society in which making it to the top is expected in some degree of all of us. And aren’t we tempted to use even the Word of God to help us in this upward mobility? But that is not the way of God, the Father, Son, and Spirit. God’s way is not the way of upward mobility but of downward mobility. You know, as well as I do, that the question we will finally hear is not going to be: ‘How much did you earn during your lifetime?’ or ‘How many friends did you make?’ or ‘How much progress did you make in your career?’ No, the question for us will be: ‘What did you do for the least of mine? What did you do for the lonely in your cities, the prisoners in your country, the refugees within and below your borders, and the hungry all over the world? Have you seen the humiliated Christ in the faces of the poor?’

God has chosen to be revealed in a crucified humanity. That is a very hard realization to come to, yet all authentic prayer will eventually lead us to it. I hope you are able to feel with me our hesitation to let God truly love us in God’s way and to respond fully with our whole being” (Henri Nouwen).

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