The Journey series
Last week I wrote about distraction. This week's Mustard Seed is about prayer.
I often meditate on Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. I am Peter, sleeping. I know that my friend is God on Earth, yet I can't muster the strength to stay awake with Him for just one hour. I complain later of a thorn in my side. How many thorns were in the crown he wore? I am one of those thorns. He asks little and gives much. Me?
This meditation convicts me most when I find myself distracted during the holiest of prayers. I can't recall a single Mass through which I remained undistracted, awake, for its one hour. Blame is easily shifted; the child fidgeting in the pew; the lady singing off-key; the noise behind me. These tiny things distract me from something far greater.
How much easier still it is to excuse ourselves in daily life. "I have too many thing to do. I need to work and cook and clean." To what purpose? If we are busying ourselves merely to stay alive, healthy, and happy we are missing the point of being. God created us for a purpose. We won't find that purpose by fitting the world in our life. We must fit ourselves into creation. Then, instead of darting from moment to moment, paycheck to paycheck, we'll have a reason to live.
As with most quests, the best place to start is by asking one who knows. God will tell us our purpose — if we ask. We'll find out — if we listen. Pray in silence because His voice is gentle. Listen in all the ways He presents Himself to us through His creation. We must pray every day, not for what we want, but for what God want's of us. Not for what we want, but for what we need. If we don't receive what we believe we need, have faith that God has given us better; He can't do else. Pray for discernment. God will equip us for our purpose.
Working in a remote camp, I learned focusing on the means at hand led me forward while focusing on things beyond reach distract me. I found a solution to many problems in the scrap pile. Browsing through hardware catalogues offered simpler solutions, but they were always weeks, months, or forever away. Distance was a barrier I couldn't broach. Budget was another barrier. I couldn't venture beyond those limits, but there was always a way to keep the camp running. I discovered much more by doing things the way I could than I would have learned by doing the same thing the easy way that wasn't available. So too with life. We have limits, we can't always do as we please. We don't have everything we want, we must make do. What we feel we lack often leads us to something better.
Next week: Woke or Awake.
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Peter T Elliott