Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wandering. Restless. Trusting.

Sometimes I feel as if my prayer is going nowhere.  Or that I, myself, am going nowhere.  It's not that I've moved beyond the boundaries of God's will.  It's more that I feel my prayer is going nowhere within those boundaries. It seems as if I'm stuck in one spot, spinning my spiritual wheels, having lost the sense of following God, my mind continually bombarded with distractions, distractions,  distractions....

At such times (and I am presently in one), I sit to pray and feel I am "doing" nothing.  I go to Mass and struggle not to fidget through the readings.  My mouth prays words from a psalm while my mind is on a thousand things.   My emotions are flat, worried, disoriented, restless, sad.  

Today I found help .. and a definite sense of companionship ... from Brother Lawrence.   

"You aren't the only one to be distracted from the presence of God," he writes in his eighth letter.  "I understand completely.  Our minds are so flighty.  But remember that our God-given will governs all of our strength.... 

"I think the remedy for the problem is to confess our faults to God and humble ourselves before Him.  It isn't necessary to be too verbose in prayer, because lengthy prayers encourage wandering thoughts.  Simply present yourself to God as if you were a poor man knocking on the door of a rich man, and fix your attention on His presence. 

"If your mind wanders at times, don't be upset, because being upset will only distract you more.  Allow your will to recall your attention gently to God.  Such perseverance will please Him. (Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God)

"Allow your WILL to recall your attention to God."  By an act of my will, this day I decide to trust God to recall my attention.  My mind may (will) wander.  Any "sense" of following God may not be present.  But today I renew my decision.  I ask for grace to make use of the many aspirations I've found helpful in the past, and I go forward to practice God's presence.  I shall trust that He IS leading.

I'll let you know how it goes.  

"And know that I am with You always..."  (Matthew 28:20)