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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Mary C. Earle

Saturday, May 16

Answer me, O LORD, for your love is kind;
In your great compassion, turn to me.
—Psalm 69:18

The great Jewish rabbi Abraham Heschel once said that God is anthropotrophic—in other words, God continually turns toward humanity, inclining towards us in compassion and mercy as a sunflower turns toward the sun. This is the compassion that sustains everything that is. This tenderness makes the whole creation and restores that creation anew.

We, the vast and motley tribe of humanity, are made in the image and likeness of God (Gn. 1:26). And so on our spiritual journeys, our own turnings inevitably mark our paths. God turns toward us; we are called to turn toward God. As God gently moves with us, within us, steadily loving us into new life, so we are called to notice and receive the divine urging toward newness.

God, being God, is steadfastly, uniquely characterized by this anthropotrophic inclination. We, being us (finite and unwise), waver and stumble. Our hearts are not inclined steadfastly. We wake up and begin the day with the best of intentions. Yet sometimes we find that before we’ve downed the first cup of coffee, we have been unkind or mean-spirited. It can be downright disheartening.

Thomas Merton, Trappist monk and author, once remarked that the most basic move of the spiritual journey is to “want to want.” We begin daily with just that—to want to want to turn toward God. To want to want to love God and our neighbor as ourselves. To want to want to grow in mercy and compassion. 

We begin anew with each dawn, knowing that the God who has brought us to the dawn ever turns toward us, seeking us in mercy, never giving up, eternally seeking us and truly knowing us.

Grant me the grace to see You turning toward me, O God. And may I be inclined toward your steadfast love, this day and always. Amen.

The Signposts for May originally appeared on explorefaith in 2006.