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Sue CSF

Mostly when I pray I try simply to be with God, giving loving attention to the One who always looks on me with love. Often I begin by using the Jesus Prayer, as a way to become focussed on God. Sometimes I will begin with an image or phrase from Scripture as a “way in”. If, as frequently happens, I find my attention has wandered, I will often take up the Jesus Prayer, the phrase or the image again for a while, to help me pay attention to God.

Sometimes I will pray with the San Damiano icon, or with a Nativity scene, somehow being drawn through them into a deeper awareness of the Incarnation. Occasionally I am drawn to pray imaginatively with a gospel passage, but very simply. I find most of the details pass me by, and I am drawn to usually just one image, which I experience as a kind of icon.

Eucharistic devotion is very helpful for me. Being in the presence of Jesus, totally available and vulnerable in the Sacrament, enables me to be connected at a deep level. As a priest and a Franciscan sister the privilege and duty of presiding at the eucharist both nourishes and expresses my awareness of my and our identity in Christ.

Praying the Office in community reminds me of our connectedness as part of the continuous prayer of the whole church, on behalf of all creation. I believe it to be intrinsically important and I find it nourishes me. Like most significant commitments, including other ways of prayer, it can also at times feel something of a chore. The words of the office I experience as a kind of boat – a structure that contains and carries me/us in this stream of prayer. For me intercession is usually bringing people and concerns with me to God –whether to liturgical prayer or to my personal prayer times. It does not require many words unless I am leading corporate prayers.

I also find it important to make time regularly to reflect on the nitty gritty of daily life, and to put my thoughts and feelings into words, often by writing in my journal. Finding words often brings things more fully into consciousness, so that I become more self- aware, more aware of God and more thankful.

Although I am not particularly interested in nature, I value the opportunity to walk and sit in our gardens as a place where I can be aware of myself as an interconnected part of the whole creation. When I do this I am reminded of the bigger picture and that God holds everything in being.