WORDS FOR PEACE
What does it mean to reconcile with our Creator?
Reconciliation is the process of making peace, accepting, and arriving at a state of harmony. It means to re-align oneself with the other.
In our relationship with our Lord, to reconcile ourselves with Him is to remember — literally, to re-member: re-embody and re-occupy our proper position with respect to God. It is to ask:
Who are we? Who is He? Who is He to us, and who should we be in relation to Him? What is it that we want in this relationship?
At its essence, this process of reconciliation is summarized in the response:
we are His servants, we are His slaves. And He is our Master.
We belong to Him in all ways: as a slave belongs to His Master, ie. all of who we are is under His dominion; but also as a child belongs to his family: the way you feel when you are with people you feel rapport and connection with. The first kind of belonging makes us humble. The second gives us a sense of stability, joy, and ease. It is accompanied by a blossoming of trust in the One to Whom we belong. And it gives us a sense of identity above all other identities that may change with time and circumstance. It is our eternal and everlasting identity: as His.
Belonging is what we find in the opening of one of the most important prayers that the Companions of the Holy Apostle would recite. The Apostle of God himself, may the light of God continue to nourish his soul and our connection to him, called this prayer the Height of Reconciliation (“Sayyid al Istighfar”).*
It goes like this:
O You Who is closer to me than myself
You are the One Who raises me.
You are the only One I seek,
no other destination exists for me,
You are my Master
And I am Your slave.
You created me
And I belong to You.
You are the only one Who truly deserves my heart
You are the One Who deserves my whole heart.
I am Yours, totally and exclusively.
I have taken the Path to You;
I have committed myself
As much as I can, to my promise to be true to You;
And I will exert the maximum
of my efforts and strength towards this end.
I come to You seeking refuge with You
And protection in You
From the evil of that which my actions have brought about.
I come to You fully recognizing Your profound Goodness to me
Your manifest favors upon me.
And I come to You
In full acknowledgement of my sin,
Bearing complete responsibility for it.
So cover me then, with Your Grace
Because there is no one but You Who could cover me and cover for me,
No one but You who could cancel and undo the negative repercussions
My actions have wrought.
This Prayer is what reconciliation looks like.
Imagine, it is the Prophet of God, the most noble human being, speaking to God and saying he fully recognizes the evil of what he has done. What is the evil a Prophet could do? None. But he is teaching us. He is teaching us that even from good actions, there are unexpected and unpredictable results that we must acknowledge. Sometimes even good actions can produce negative repercussions. This is an acknowledgement that we are not omnipotent. Sometimes we do a thing we think is good but it can have negative effects upon others; realizing this reinforces that we are but slaves of an All-Powerful Lord, and only He can channel our actions towards having good effects.
We are not in control at all.
Sometimes without realizing it, we fall into the sin of thinking we control the outcome of our actions, and in this manner, we can enter a kind of discord with our Lord. In many places in the Holy Letter (Quran), God addresses even the best of believers including the Prophets, about the importance of remembering that He is the Lord, and we are but His servants. He is in charge, and we are witnesses to His Power. These Verses are a reminder and a reset, and the fact that there are such reminders addressed to the believing people shows us that even the greatest of human beings has the potential of falling into a lack of synchronization with the Lord’s Will.
Even the most sincere and dedicated servant of God can develop a lack of permeability to His Plan. It can happen in a very subtle way, almost unnoticeable to us. And truly, it causes turbulence and internal distress in this life. But the cure is there. If we re-position ourselves, we will take up our proper positions as servants and recognize our Lord as the Lord. This simple re-set is the cure to the distress of trying to control all the outcomes in this life.
The prayer of the Height of Reconciliation is the ultimate re-set.
During this month, reset yourself by reciting this Prayer 10 times at the start of the day, and 10 times at its end.
* according to an authentic narration