Submitting to God
Be thou a light unto my eyes, music to mine ears, sweetness to my taste, and full contentment to my heart. Be thou my sunshine in the day, my food at table, my repose in the night, my clothing in nakedness, and my succour in all necessities.
Lord Jesus, I give thee my body, my soul, my substance, my fame, my friends, my liberty, and my life. Dispose of me and all that is mine as it may seem best to thee and to the glory of thy blessed name.
John Cosin (1594-1672)
This is a prayer I have recently been reflecting on. John Cosin lived in tumultuous times, and, at one point as the country lurched towards civil war, he went into exile in Paris. During his life, he ministered at Durham Cathedral and later became Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge and University Vice-Chancellor. He later became Bishop of Durham.
The first part of the prayer gently claims Christ’s care for the whole of our existence. It encourages us to look for this ‘comforting, sustaining’ Jesus in the whole of life. Jesus’ words, ‘I am with you always’ spring to mind.
The second part of the prayer, as we acknowledge our dependence of Jesus, encourages us to submit our whole lives to Jesus. Ours is to be a ‘handed over’ life. A life lived not on our own terms. A life of trusting the One who invites us to ‘follow.’
The prayer then, invites us to put Jesus at the centre and end of our lives. In doing so, we accept the will of God. Accepting God’s will for our lives has, according to St. Benedict, has seven steps. The first step of humility is to recognise that God is God. That nothing else can be permitted to consume us or satisfy us. This prayer brings us to that point, inviting, encouraging us to put Jesus centre all the way to the end.
We are then, to persevere with Jesus at the centre of our lives to the end. That is, to ‘stick with’ this Jesus. The fourth step according to St. Benedict is the ability to persevere even when our lives and what is going on around are in tumult and say otherwise. This prayer reminds us that Jesus is with us even in difficult and challenging times; we are to continue to submit to Him even if we feel another course of action is necessary.
Jesus. Receive Him. Follow Him. Submit to Him.
I commend this prayer to you for your own reflection and meditation.