Friday, March 15, 2013

The Wall of Distractions

I'd like to come back to the subject of walls.  It seems we'd just made our way through the doors of one wall, then another...  when suddenly we were "walled in prayer" for those inside the Sistine Chapel.

The doors opened, our new Holy Father emerged, and we have all been getting to know him.  Like our Sisters and Brothers behind monastic walls, we've allowed ourselves the mid-Lenten fun of white smoke, pealing bells, joyful greetings, maybe a bit of online reading (I wonder how many times our new Holy Father's name has been "googled" in the last two days?), and distractions of a prayerful kind. 

Now maybe we're returning to normal routines, going about our day-to-day lives.  Which brings me right to the next wall that I (personally) encounter most frequently when I'm trying to move closer to God in prayer.

This wall has doors, and they're right in front of me.  All I have to do is open them, but you know, it's funny.  When I get to these doors, it's like I forget why I came here.  My prayer today provides solid evidence of this fact, and if you'll forgive me for putting it as follows, I prayed something not too different from this:

"I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mailbox, which is where the book I ordered should arrive today, which is my goodness Friday already.  Oh, and I forgot to write down the time of the Easter lunch so I'd better go get my calendar while I'm thinking about it, and that reminds me, I need to call my friends and tell them the movie night needs to be rescheduled..."

I'd be willing to bet there are others out there who've had similar experiences. 

"Even our distractions can be helpful," writes Tim Gray, "as they show us what we're attached to and can signal subjects that we should submit to God." 

Lord God, thank You for showing me my attachments.  I ask you to continue shedding light on all that keeps me from moving forward in prayer.  Draw me on, in spite of and through the wall of distractions.  Help me remember that, on the other side of that wall, is a deeper encounter with YOU.

"Your Face is all lovely and Your Heart all inviting, but my thoughts alas! go wandering far from You.  Come, O God of my heart, gather together my scattered mental powers and fix them upon Yourself."  St. Gertrude


Painting: Théo Van Rysselberghe; Portret van Marguerite van Mons

This is part of a 'mini-series' of posts on walls. To continue in chronological order, click here.