Donna Marie Ennis

One day while sitting at the piano, I noticed the sunlight streaming in through the window in a way I had not seen before, and something in me was touched. I had been drawn to piano lessons following the births of my children. It was a time when I knew my life was enriched because of them, but the demands pointed up in me my need for balance. There needed to be something that did not take away from them, but enriched all of us. My answer was found in my piano practice. I knew I could have as little as ten minutes of practice, and the fragments within me would come closer to unification. If I had an hour it was bliss. That was 30 years ago.

At that point in my life, a zen meditation teacher literally crossed the pathway to my front door and introduced me to that form of meditation. I felt moved and connected to my deeper center in a way that the music did for me, but at a deeper level of wholeness. I wondered if there might not be something in the Christian tradition that carried this beautiful stream of consciousness to us. There is: we call it contemplative prayer. Out of many years of practice and discovery, I have developed a deep and sustained desire to share with others what I have learned. I have come to the realization that praying together in small groups is where we all are literally called into being, as instructed by Jesus in the gospels: “Where two or more of you are gathered, there am I in your midst” Matt. 18:20. It is here where we come to the truth that is central to our existence: I am loved and called precious in God’s sight.

Music has the capacity to convey sorrow and joy, dissonance and resolution and has been called the universal language. The same is true for prayer. Contemplative prayer is our deeper universal language where divisions, limits and boundaries fall by the wayside. In my awareness of the sunshine streaming in through the window, or sparkling like diamonds on the water, and all of the other little signs God sends us, I know I have touched the common root to our existence: the mystical roots of God’s grace. It is with good reason there is a rest written into the music.Contemplative prayer is our rest between the notes of life. God’s grace awaits our attentiveness. Our “yes” is life giving. It’s that simple.