This talk was delivered by Linda Tuason, BCBP Cebu North, during the Ladies Breakout Forum at the NAC Davao, April 24, 2010. It is posted in this website due to the requests of many BCBP sisters, both those who attended and those who were unable to attend.
From John 14:23: “Anyone who loves me will be true to my word, and my Father will love him; we will come to him and make our dwelling place with him.”
In the article of Fr. John Bertolucci entitled “Hermitage of the Heart” he says:
“In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of our very active life or in the midst of the uncertainty of our life’s situation, we possess a sanctuary into which we can enter. There we can find refuge any time of the day or night, at an instant’s notice. It is the hermitage of our heart.”
2 Cor. 6:16-18: “I will dwell with them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be my people… I will welcome you and be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
We can always encounter our Lord within the person that we are, beyond the feelings and conscious awareness of our sinfulness, inadequacies and fears. Our intimate, internal relationship with Jesus needs to be consciously and deliberately cultivated on a daily basis no matter what the external circumstances of our life are. We need to just close our eyes, listen to our breathing, ignore the thoughts that would be coming our way, breathe in Jesus by saying “Maranatha, come Lord Jesus”, and breathe out the negatives (ex. anger, anxiety, depression, etc.) in our life and be in His presence.
I began my personal prayer time when I started in the Charismatic renewal in Nov. 1978. From 15 minutes a day, it has now evolved into a daily hour and a half of prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament wherein I enjoy the presence of the Lord by just being there, enjoying his presence, talking with him, listening to him, praising him, singing to him, asking for forgiveness and for healing of relationships, interceding in behalf of the needs of our people. From a simple request of taking over the activities of the day to more serious requests such as life and death situations, these daily encounters with our Lord give me the answers, the assurance, the peace, and the wisdom, that can only come from a relationship of trust with our Lord who knows our needs even before we ask of them. There I pour out my dreams, my desires, my petitions, my supplications, my pains to a God who is a friend, a Father, a savior, a healer, a counselor, and my companion in my life’s journey.
Psalm 46:10 says: “ Be still and know that I am God.” Such a daily time of being still, in meditative prayer, in addition to other spiritual exercises, helps me deepen an awareness that God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are present within me. Our Lord wills that each one of us experience that peace that is beyond all understanding (Phil. 4:7) and encounter the Father, Son and Holy Spirit within.
Within us dwells the triune God who is actively loving, healing, inspiring and enabling us to bear abundant fruit as we go about our day. The answer to our searching and struggling lies within our hearts. Within the hermitage of the heart we can find healing, consolation, immeasurable strength, love, friendship, affection, assurance, and affirmation. Within the hermitage of the heart we will experience true life as scripture tells us that “Whoever possesses the Son possesses life.” 1Jn 5:22
If we develop this daily time of meditative prayer that reveals to us the value of the inner life and helps protect the sacred space within the hermitage of our heart – we will fully understand and experience the power of these words in Phil. 4:13: “In him who is the source of my strength I have strength for everything.”
As we develop our intimate relationship with our Lord through daily meditative prayer and as we experience his peace, this will then spill over into our home and our service. We will experience oneness with the Lord so that it is no longer us that live but Christ who lives in us. Our thoughts, our words, our actions will be Christ’s thoughts, words and actions because through our daily meditations we take to heart the very words that He speaks.
And as we ponder his words in the recesses of our hearts, our home, too, will become a place where the Lord Jesus Christ reigns. Our home will be a place where prayers and scriptures form an integral part of the family pattern of life. This fulfills the Scripture in Psalm 127: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”
My husband and I have placed the Lord at the center of our lives, our marriage and our family. Our children are all grown up and yet my prayer for them is that each of them will have a personal relationship with our Lord, that they may have life partners who will bring them to heaven, and that the Lord will prosper the work of their hands. Right now, I am asking the Lord to work overtime with my youngest son who has stopped practicing his faith ever since he left the Philippines 6 years ago. It is a pain in my heart knowing that he is missing the most important relationship in his life but I do believe that in the Lord’s time, he will call my youngest back to him. That has been and continues to be the desire of my heart.
Not only do we experience the Lord’s presence in our hearts and in our home but also in our service. Whenever Oscar and I embark on a service, the very first thing that we do is to lift this service up to the Lord, whether it be the start of a new Christian Life Program, a Brotherhood Christian Marriage retreat, a market evangelization program, an action group leaders’ training program, or any other activity. We always begin and end our activities in prayer asking the Lord to take over all these activities and to be present in each one of them, that we be used as his instruments in proclaiming his kingdom and bringing as many participants as possible to know our Lord better. Prayers before service are important for it is not our work that we do but the Lord’s. We see to it that these activities are also backed up by the prayer support of our brothers and sisters in our intercessory groups.
In Matt 7:7 Jesus tells us, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” And in Matt 21:22 He says “Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” This is why we entrust all our activities into the Lord’s hands and ask him to take over each and everyone of them.
And so sisters, as we internalize these Scripture passages in the hermitage of our heart, as we labor in our home, as we serve the BCBP community and the market place, or as we experience loneliness, insecurity, or the uncertainties of life, we know that we always have a place where we can be alone with the Lord. It is a holy place, a specially chosen and royal place, owned by the “one who called us from darkness into his marvelous light” (1Pt 2:9). In that place, in the hermitage of our heart, we will find Jesus. And his “power now at work in us can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20).
Sisters, my prayer for all of us this morning is that we may understand the power of these words and thus prepare a sacred space, a holy hermitage, for His presence in our hearts, our home and our service. To God be the glory.