In these times when social distancing and isolation are getting many of us down, when it all just seems to be “too much;” I’d like to suggest to you a prayer that you may find very comforting.
The prayer comes from a Native American nun, named Sr. Jose Hobday. She was born in 1929 in West Texas to a Seneca-Iroquois mother and a Southern Baptist father. In her adult life, she was an Elder of the Seneca tribe, a Sister of the Franciscan Order and a most influential spiritual lecturer, retreat director and author. She died at the age of 80 in Tucson, Arizona.
Sister Jose’s prayer is a bit unusual in that it has no words; she referred to it as “The Hugging Prayer.” I’ll let her explain it to you:
My mother taught me many prayers when I was young. Often, they were prayers of comfort, in contrast to those of my father. I did not always think of my mother’s prayers as being prayers, even though that’s what she called them.
This is one of my favorites. I was about six years old at the time I learned this one. I was sitting outside on concrete and I was crying; I don’t think I knew why I just was. My mother came along and asked, “What’s the matter?” I said, “Nothing, leave me alone.” So, she did.
About 15 minutes later, she came back and sat beside me. She said, “I have to tell you something, Dear. There are going to be lots of times in your life when you are going to be down, depressed, crying. Let me teach you a prayer for those times.”
feel Jesus holding you, experience His love.
She had me stand up, and she said: “Now, wrap your arms around yourself.” I did, but then she said, “tighter, cradle yourself closer. Hold yourself the way you would hold a baby. Close your eyes and gently rock yourself, the way you would a baby. Do this for a while and remember that you are a child of God and He holds you close just as you are now holding yourself. Be comforted for God loves you very much – feel Jesus holding you, experience His love.”
abstracted from: Sr. Jose Hobday, Stories of Awe and Abundance,
Sheed & Ward Publishing, 1999.
What I find so powerful and moving about this prayer is that it focuses on our experiencing the presence and comfort of Jesus, rather than on what we are saying or reciting from memory. No matter how bad we may feel at the time, Jesus already knows our anguish. He’s been there beside us all along, but we just didn’t sense His presence. Letting this prayer be a regular part of our day can change all that.
When things seem to be just “too much” use this simple prayer to create a sacred space around you where you can enjoy the comfort of Jesus’ arms as He says to you “Be still and know that I am God”
‘Till next time.
Dcn. Bob Evans
March 29, 2020