Margaret Guenther, formerly the Director of the Center for Christian Spirituality at the General Theological Seminary, now a full-time spiritual director and retreat leader, is the author of Holy Listening, Toward Holy Ground, and The Practice of Prayer.
This soulful work is organized as a retreat with eight meditations on Psalm 62. Each chapter opens with a prayer and includes questions to ponder. Guenther sees this psalm as a contemplative one about presence, waiting on God, and living prayerfully and patiently. It has been a faithful companion for her over the past five years.
At the heart of Psalm 62 is the spiritual practice of silence: "The prayer of silence is a prayer of listening, waiting, and receptivity. It calls for gentle attentiveness. Those concerned with productivity might see it as the kind of prayer in which 'nothing happens,' but it is really the prayer of being rather than doing in which everything happens. For God alone our soul in silence waits."
Once we are nurtured by this soothing exercise, we are ready to practice waiting, imagining, dealing with enemies, seeking refuge, weighing in, and listening. Guenther helps us sift through images of God as a rock and God as an anxious housewife. I was especially intrigued by the author's take on Julian of Norwich's image of God as a garment: "It is a homely and appealing picture of comfort and safety. I imagine a favorite roomy sweater, a little baggy in just the right places, or maybe a soft old bathrobe. Who would not want to be wrapped in God, held warmly and securely?"