|Art by Kelly Rae Roberts.|
Brennan Manning in his book The Furious Long of God writes that one night a seventy-eight-year-old nun knocked on his door at three o'clock in the morning. He was at a retreat and had stayed up offering prayer until midnight and was beat. He writes that as soon as he opened the door she began to cry. Manning invited her in.
She shared, "I've never told anyone this in my entire life. It started when I was five years old. My father would crawl into my bed with no clothes on. He would touch me there and tell me to touch him there; he said it's what our family doctor said we should do. When I was nine, my father took my virginity. By the time I was twelve, I knew of every kind of sexual perversion you read about in dirty books. Brennan, do you have any idea how dirty I feel? I've lived with so much hatred of my father and hatred of myself that I would only go to Communion when my absence would be conspicous."
Manning says that in the next few minutes he prayed for healing with her. He then asked her if she would find a quiet place every morning for the next thirty days and close her eyes and upturn her palms as she prayed this phrase below over and over:
"ABBA, I BELONG TO YOU."
She agreed to pray the prayer with tears in her eyes. Manning writes, "One of the most moving and poetic follow-up letters I've ever received came from this sister. In it she described the inner healing of her heart, a complete forgiveness of her father, and an inner peace she'd never known in her seventy-eight years. She concluded her letter with these words:
"A year ago, I would've signed this letter with my real name in religious life--Sister Mary Genevieve. But from now on, I'm Daddy's little girl."
Meditating on GraceThis woman experienced grace at her core. Grace encompasses full acceptance of who we are and our purpose in this world, unconditional love and forgiveness. Life's experiences many times create distorted beliefs and ideas about who we are that make it hard to love ourselves and others. These beliefs get in the way of grace. By meditating on grace and the truth we can regain the freedom to walk in grace again.
If you need some help doing that consider praying the prayer she prayed for 30 days. You can also create an affirmation or prayer that speaks to you.
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