Lectio Divina day after day, trying to plug away in prayer, while my thoughts scattered to the winds like seeds from a dandelion?
By now you know that this (this tendency toward distraction) is a recurring theme for me here. That's because it's a recurring theme for me HERE, in my life, in my mind, in (alas) my times of prayer. "O Lord, open my lips, and did the mail come yet? Oh, so sorry, Lord. Open my lips, and my mouth shall proclaim that I really should check e-mail, and I have to make that phone call, and I forgot to write bread on the grocery list....."
I may not be the only one who has ever experienced this.
It may even be that I'm not the only one who feels guilty about it. Or who, at least, wants help in overcoming it. I know it's a normal part of the prayer journey, but that doesn't make it particularly comfortable. For days now, I have read scripture and said a few prayers and then felt there was no particular "take away" to carry me through the rest of my time.
Until today. Reading (distractedly) the Liturgy of the Hours, I came face to face with this:
"As your hearts have been disposed to stray from God, turn now ten times the more to seek him.." (Baruch 4:28)
The words pierced right through me. I felt as if I'd stumbled across a major "how to." And it's hard to put this into language, for the fruits of Lectio are so often like that. A scripture jumps right into the heart of one person, while another reads the same words and says "that's nice."
Here, for me, was a genuine "take-away." Something I felt God actually used to speak to me; a personal invitation to turn ten times the more to seek Him throughout my day. Not just this day, but tomorrow as well.. and for who knows how long?
How was I to do that? I initially had no plan. But I knew it would involve aspirations at every moment I thought of them, putting a few more brief "prayer appointments" into my day, making sure I didn't say I was "too tired" for a nightime examination of conscience and prayer.
After this breath of fresh air, I caught up on a bit of blog reading. I was surprised and delighted when today's post at Desert of My Heart led me into conversation with God. I left the writer, Theresa, a comment, and got this as part of her reply:
"This book is perfect to pick up and to read a paragraph or two which will take you through the next hour or so of your day!"
The book Theresa refers to is Listening to the Indwelling Presence by A Religious (we have quoted it several times here). But my "take away" from this was: I can select any book of prayerful meditations that inspires me, and do this very thing with it. My heavens; why have I never thought of this before?! It is simple, and oh, so do-able.
I can pick up a volume of prayers or saintly thoughts, not just once during a day, but throughout the hours. It occurs to me, on this eve of St. Faustina's feast day, that I can do that tomorrow with her Diary (a book that definitely lends itself to such use). I can read a few paragraphs and surely USE them.. taking their inspiration and advice with me into the hour or two following.
And if I forget or slack off with that, I can always continue with the same thought rather than opening the book again.
"Turn now ten times the more to seek Him.."
Ten times the more today. Ten times the more tomorrow.
I will report back on how this has gone.
Painting: Charles Allston Collins, Convent Thoughts (detail)
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