I went to see the movie Philomena which is based on the, apparently, true story of an Irish teenage girl whose baby was taken from her by the Catholic nuns in 1952 and adopted to a wealthy American couple for one thousand pounds. Fifty years later, an unlikely match between Philomena and an emotionally struggling journalist brings healing to both in their search for Philomena’s son. The real-life Philomena says, ”This is not a rally cry against the church or politics. In fact, despite some of the troubles that befell me as a young girl, I have always maintained a very strong hold on my faith.” I walked home from the movie on a calm, warm evening in a small, Australian, seaside town and thought about the depth of the, largely unconscious, ties that we have to the sacred.
We reach for it when we are not looking. It is, in some form, imprinted into every cell of our body. It rushes forward at pivotal moments: tragedy, pain, death, new love, deep love, and healing. We carry the beauty and radiance of the love, courage, and healing which gives spirituality its potency. It is the whole, immense energy field of man’s craving for release, guidance, forgiveness, and support. It is the innumerable ways in which that is expressed. We have an inherent longing for the sacred. We yearn for wholeness and meaning. It leads to transformation and freedom. In the end, we will neither seek it nor run away from it. It will become us and we will become that which, in a flawed manner, we now clumsily seek.
To enter a holy place which is imbued with the pleas of countless human beings and is the home of many a heartfelt prayer is a reminder of the breath of devotion. Such occasions call for the heart. Devotion is an act of the heart, not an intellectual endeavour. At best, the mind can inform us of our spiritual options and it expands our intellectual understanding of human nature. However, anything which remains as an idea of the mind is yet to be realised through actual being. Devotion is that realisation in one’s being.
Devotion and prayer require very little thought. It is not that we become sentimental and overly emotional. The latter is a further act of the ego. Rather, true devotion calls for humility, calmness, serenity, a stunning appreciation of everything beautiful, an overwhelming gratitude for every sign of love, and a deep connection with all of life. Devotion is egoless. It is simple, pure, uplifting, enlivening, joyous, and it takes one out of oneself into the flow of spiritual life. It is beautiful, moving, and peaceful. A humble and sincere request to be blessed by life will ensure that it is so. No prayer ever goes unanswered. The act of prayer itself ensures that it will be heard because prayer, by its very nature, means an acceptance of the Divine order of life.
This article is from The Love of Devotion