The April 2 retreat led by Ward Bauman on the Luminous Gospels imparted several blessings. One was the metaphor of offering my heart as an empty vessel. I love the image of lifting up my heart as an open and empty vessel to be filled with God’s presence. This image reinforces my commitment during centering prayer to simply let go of thoughts again and again so that my heart can receive God. The image also connects to the welcoming prayer with the insight that when I meet a challenge or distressing situation, instead of grumbling or worrying or complaining, I can respond by opening my heart to God’s presence and grace.