kindle my affections

Open, O Lord, my mouth to bless thy holy Name; cleanse also my heart from all vain, evil, and wandering thoughts; enlighten my understanding and kindle my affections; that I may worthily, attentively, and devoutly recite this office, and so be meet to be heard before the presence of thy divine Majesty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

I have used the traditional prayer before the Office for many years. (Yes, I still use the more traditional language above because my mind is old and I cannot learn anything new.)

I have been thinking about “kindle my affections”. For many years I have tried, at all costs, to keep emotion out of my relationship with Jesus. But is it really a “relationship” without emotions? Yes, ordered affections! But not “no affections”. Part of my struggle with depression has been an unwillingness to see my feelings as real – I have feelings. I still need to learn to express them in the right way in the right context. But these feelings are not pre-defined for me by my context.

I have learned that I am not a robot – I have feelings and desires. And my relationship with Jesus is not about stopping those but ordering them to Jesus – “Jesus, I desire you alone!”. Holy tears are part of that discovery.

Jesus wants a human response to Him and that response must include feelings.

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