The Welcoming Prayer and “letting go of the desire for security, affection, and control.”

Q: I have a question about the Welcoming Prayer, related to “letting go of the desire for security, affection, and control.” I say the prayer often during my daily encounters and frustrations and it brings great comfort and reminds me to “truly let go.”

My question has to do with the conflict of letting go of these desires and yet setting future goals that include financial planning (security) and relationships (affection) that one would like to achieve in life. I truly believe God wants us to be happy and security and affection do include happiness. Can you please shed some like on this potential conflict?

A: Thank you for your question. I am so happy you are making use of the Welcoming Prayer in daily life. I have a friend who said she is welcoming her way into eternity, she uses the prayer so much.

Just a reminder of the movements of the Welcoming Prayer – sink into and feel the sensation or inner response located in your body, welcome the Indwelling Presence, then affirm the letting go statement.

We are not being asked to let go of security, affection and control. We are being asked to let go of the desire for, the attachment to or even the addictive character that has encrusted around these natural and necessary energies. One sign of this attachment or addition is that when we do not have them, we act and feel as if our world is falling apart. Put another way, we have in our lives addictions and preferences. When we are addicted to security, affection and control, addicted to the point that if they are not part of our lives “all hell breaks loose,” then this is what we are letting go of – the addictive-ness. I am sure every human being has a preference for security, affection and control; the difference is that one is able to let them go if the circumstances warrant it. A healthy relationship to our preferences is exhibited by an ability to adjust and go to plan B, and not be fixated on what is missing or wrong, but be flexible and move on, trusting God is with us always. So, setting future goals is a healthy, responsible practice, as long as you are willing to pray with any attachments or triggers you feel during the process or that you feel related to future expectations.

A goal on the journey can be to have no preferences and just allow the Lord to be our security, affection and control, which then opens us to see and experience these energies in our daily lives on a much deeper level.

As a review and renewal, I would recommend the Contemplative Life Program (CLP) booklet on the Welcoming Prayer or the Welcoming Prayer online course.

This prayer has been a real blessing in my life. Be well, Fr. Carl

** Note: The Welcoming Prayer practice was updated in May 2016.