Look! A Squirrel!
Yes it is true...I am very easily distracted, which causes me to lose my focus, even
Ugh! A pile of laundry that REALLY needs to be folded!
when I am trying to write this posting. Try as I may, it seems that something is always
Cool! The neighbor’s got a new car!
vying for my attention. It happens especially when I am trying to do something “spiritual” like
A new text message! Hope it’s from my daughter...
read my daily Bible readings or even more so...pray. I have to make a real concerted effort
Hey! Did you hear that? Sounds like thunder...
to try to quiet my mind and heart and place myself in God’s presence and ask Him to quiet all
Oh man! Did I remember to RSVP to the dinner?
of the “chattering monkeys” in my tree. It greatly helps me to have a set routine
I think I did...or maybe that was for the birthday party?
for my prayer. It is particularly beneficial for me to do it first thing in the morning before
Wow! That catalogue cover is really cute! I wonder if it is on sale?
all of the chattering monkeys awaken in my own head and home, before I turn on my phone
Hmm… I wonder if we need milk?
or computer, or after I drop my daughter off at school and can go to Mass and then sit quietly alone in the chapel before the Blessed Sacrament to just be still. There is something about being before Jesus in this holy place that really calms my heart and mind. I am able to focus so much more clearly and He gives my soul a little more room to breath…”air out” in the presence of True Oxygen.
I started this practice many years ago, even before I became a Catholic, before I knew about the beauty and power of sitting before the Blessed Sacrament. Back then, I would sit crossed legged on my floor and light three candles for the Trinity and ask All that was Him to fill all that is me. When first starting off, I would set the egg timer for three minutes to see if I could be still and try to empty my thoughts of all of this world to be filled with the light of Christ. Then and now, I always start my time of quiet prayer with this:
“I cover myself with the blood of Christ, to heal, cleanse and protect me. I fill myself with the Light of Christ to bring me truth, joy and union with Him. And I seal myself by the Cross of Christ ( and make the sign of the cross) that no evil or harmful thing may come near me, only that which is of Him. Amen.”
Then I place my palms down and say whatever is on my heart-- urgent “monkeys” --prayer requests for others and myself. After those requests have been safely turned over to the Lord, I turn my palms upward and ask Him in the form of His Holy Spirit to fill me to overflowing. I picture nothing but Light! And there we sit, me gazing at Him and He at me. And we smile. Ahhh sweet...
Oh my gosh! Did I turn off the iron?!
peace. The great thing about distractions in quiet prayer is that, as Fr. John Bartunek says in his book The Better Part, they give you a chance to turn your gaze BACK to Jesus! You get ANOTHER CHANCE to CHOOSE Him all over again! I truly love that. Instead of getting upset about the distraction and angry that I am not a super-contemplative, I just offer the distraction to Him...and go right back to Him.
I have chosen a “sacred word” that I say when I'm distracted in prayer. I can say, and it helps to bring me back to the “Center.” My Word is “Jesus”-- here is why:
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2665:
But the one name that contains everything is the one that the Son of God received in his incarnation: JESUS. The divine name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity The Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: "Jesus," "YHWH saves."16 The name "Jesus" contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray "Jesus" is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave himself up for him.
How cool is that? But there are other words you could choose-- Abba (Father), Peace, Maranatha (Come quickly Lord!), Hallelujah-- just to name a few. I will often say His Name throughout the day, to bring me back again to the center...where He is. This is one way that I am learning to “pray without ceasing.”
People have often asked what the difference is between eastern meditation and Christian meditation. In eastern meditation you are trying to EMPTY yourself of everything. In Christian meditation you are trying to quiet yourself, but then CONNECT yourself to God and be FILLED with HIm. One is emptying the other is filling.
I have, little by little, been able to build up over the years to longer and longer times of quiet. Most would say that 20 minutes is a goodly time to be still. And, truthfully, it spills over into all that I do. If I don’t make that time daily, I really feel the difference.
But if I think I can just run around like crazy, busy, busy, busy and then jump into meditation I
Oh my goodness! I forgot to pick up the clothes from the cleaners!
will find that distractions come at such
Did she return that or am I suppose to?
an alarming rate that it is almost impossible
The car needs to be inspected...make a note of that one!
to still myself.
And so, even as I drive, or shop, or clean or write, or whatever I do, I try to remind myself (see posting from January 7 called “resolutions” ) to dip back into the well of tranquility for thirst-quenching sips of Him...and little by little, if I am faithful there's...
Peace - I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. John 14:27
I need PEACE! Your peace! I need it every minute of everyday. Please help me to make the time and exercise the discipline of sitting with You, my Peace. Please give me the grace to see the value that time spent with You is time not only well spent, but the BEST way spent. I am so distracted. Help me to be able to focus and to be still and, best of all, to be made in Union with You-- my heart to Your heart, my Soul to Your Soul, my Spirit to Your Spirit. Make us One, so that all through the day, and all through my life, I can be brought back to the Center, with only a glance and a word and ahhhh...You Jesus, my Sweet Peace, will flood my being once again.
I ask this in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen