Since we began this "lectio day," I have been bombarded by distractions. Many seem to come from inside myself. I sit with scripture, and often in a very short time all sorts of stray thoughts wander in, pull up a chair, and make themselves at home. Often these are thoughts of what I COULD be doing instead of "this."
And what, I ask myself, is "this."
"This" is spending person to Person time with God Himself. It is lingering heart to Heart with the One Who waits to shower mercy upon me. It is accepting a peace that passes understanding, and a love that no one else can give. What could be so enchanting that it takes my attention when I'm in the middle of "this?" I am sorry to admit that it can be something as inane as a crossword puzzle, wanting to check out the weather report, or wondering if the mail's come yet....
"We somehow assume that contemplation should sail smoothly along in
undistracted, uninterrupted delight in God," writes Father Dubay in the book we looked at yesterday. "It will be such in the
final enthrallment of beatific vision, but here on earth we should
expect a great deal of ebb and flow: empty feelings mingled with
occasional periods of delight." (p. 62)
"One is being led into a perceived contact with God
indwelling.... at first it comes bit by bit and will be punctured with
distractions (which obviously come from us), but as one grows, this love gets progressively stronger and deeper." (p. 61)
"The beginnings of infused prayer ... are so gentle and unobtrusive at the outset that unless one is well instructed, they may go unnoticed." (p. 64)
When I first read Fire Within (shortly after its publication), I decided right then that I wanted to "go for it." I wanted to "go for" increasing depth of prayer. I wanted to go for giving my will and my life over to God, trusting Him to make me into the holy person He wanted me to be... one who would choose to love Him by decision no matter what. I wanted to go for a life immersed in prayer.
"Infused contemplation is by no means a dry or sterile intellectualism," wrote Father Dubay, "a platonic gazing upon abstract essences. Nor is it an oriental, impersonal awareness. Rather, it is (according to St. John of the Cross) 'a loving awareness of God." (p. 63)
"One of the most extravagant errors of recent decades among religious men and women is the idea that contemplation is a monastic enterprise, good in itself but the exclusive domain of the cloister...." (p. 65)
"If we keep Yahweh always before our eyes, nothing can shake us." (p. 66)
"Deepening communion with the indwelling Trinity brings with it a steadily progressive growth in holiness: humility, love, patience, purity, fortitude and all the virtues." (p. 71)
I re-read these words today and realize I cannot stop short. No matter where I am on the journey at any given time, I can't let a distraction here and a bout of dryness there win the battle. I want a life immersed in prayer.
I want to go for it.
quotes from Fire Within by Thomas Dubay S.M., Ignatius Press, 1989,
pages 58-60. Click this line to read more about this title)
To continue this "Lectio Day," click here