The Importance of Deep Questions
One of my favorite ways to pray and connect with each person of the Trinity is asking open-ended questions: Holy Spirit, how do I handle this situation or person? Father, what do you want me to know about how you see me? Jesus, what do you have to say to me about _________?
I was at a women’s retreat almost three years ago where the speaker encouraged us to use open-ended questions in prayer as a way to build intimacy with Jesus, while also allowing Him to speak personally to us in prayer. It struck a nerve within me, especially as one who can sometimes turn prayer into just talking “to” God. All too often in personal prayer, we can act as though we are making prayer “happen” or we just talk at God. However, prayer is really a two-fold action of both talking and listening: speak from your heart and let the voice of Love speak back to you.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples an open-ended question, “Who do people say I am?” While there are varied responses, Jesus presses further, “But who do you say that I am?” Jesus makes it personal, inviting those present to reflect upon what that means in their own lives.
We see the response of Peter, who recognizes Jesus to be the Messiah.
Sometimes in faith communities, questions are seen in a negative light. To ask deep questions or wrestle with faith are seen as bad, or a crisis of faith or belief. However, I think the opposite is actually true. I think Jesus relishes in our deep questions, even if we are struggling with faith, belief in God, or finding our own place in a spiritual community. And I think this scene in the Gospel today gently invites us to consider the deep (sometimes messy) questions in our own hearts.
Wherever your spiritual journey finds you today, I invite you to sit with your deep questions. Perhaps sit with the question of Jesus, “But who do you say that I am?” Maybe it looks like sitting in silence as you let these words linger in the air, “God, what do you want me to know about myself right now? Or “What do you have to say to me about _____?”
Pay attention to your senses, feelings, and emotions. What arises within your spirit? Is there an image that comes to mind?
Listen to your heart.
What does the Divine voice of Love say back to you?