I was at Shrine Mont this weekend having some personal retreat time when this poem found me. I journeyed the labyrinth there carrying the phrase “Mirroring your Immensity” which seemed to resonate with me deeply. This phrase…and the images of this poem…have remained with me as I transition back from vacation and reflection time to daily work and life.
This week I have to admit that living and working amid many stressors and obligations feels immense. But tonight, as I prepare to climb inside a space of contemplative prayer, I am reminded of something larger than I am, the immensity of divine grace, presence, persistence, and love which transcends the changes and chances of this daily life. I am finding great peace in these images tonight. Mirroring your Immensity. Rilke speaks the prayer of my heart this night:
I’m too alone in the world, yet not alone enough
to make each hour holy.
I’m too small in the world, yet not small enough
to be simply in your presence, like a thing—
just as it is.
I want to know my own will
and to move with it.
And I want, in the hushed moments
when the nameless draws near,
to be among the wise ones—
I want to mirror your immensity.
I want never to be too weak or too old
to bear the heavy, lurching image of you.
I want to unfold.
Let no place in me hold itself closed,
for where I am closed, I am false.
I want to stay clear in your sight.
I would describe myself
like a landscape I’ve studied
at length, in detail;
like a word I’m coming to understand;
like a pitcher I pour from at mealtime;
like my mother’s face;
like a ship that carried me
when the waters raged.
from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Book of Hours
translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy