Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This is a Lousy Column (Well, Maybe Not...)

Another day nears its end. It is very hard to believe that these days have any significance in the great scheme of things, or even in my own life. Time plods on relentlessly. Its been a pretty good day, I guess. I did a radio interview for my book. How did it go? I think it went alright. The kids want to watch a video and they can't find the remote, again. Josefina is spilling peanuts on the floor; why is she eating them in the living room? Oh yeah, I told her she could.

I am tired. I am always tired; its part of my condition (for more on that, see the link to my book). I have learned to live with being tired. I am writing today's entry because I am determined to blog every day (except Sunday). I am a writer, and writers write.

Time plods on relentlessly. Everything is reduced to stuff: stuff to do, stuff to move, stuff to say to people, stuff to eat, stuff to read, stuff going on in the world. I guess I am not surprised that people are materialists. What seems to be their experience--the appearance of things--is dull, monotonous, and seemingly beneath the level of their interest. Stuff.

But I have faith. I believe that God became man and dwells in the midst of all this stuff. But today I am not going to do a very good job of explaining why that is important. Today I am oppressed by stuff, and I find it very difficult to recognize Christ's presence in the midst of it all. I believe, and I summon myself to pray. Prayer. This is everything. But I don't feel like praying.

Just do it. I don't feel like talking to God right now--He seems very remote. So I'll use the words I've been given. Sacred Scripture: The Psalms. O Lord open my lips / O God make haste to help me. The Church's prayers: the Memorare. The name of Jesus. The name of Jesus. The name of Jesus. Jesus I trust in You.

I am a writer, so I write. I am a human person, so I pray. We are extremely weak, fragile, apparently insignificant specks of cosmic dust whirling about a great universe. It seems as if all things follow their course and then disappear, and that they have been doing so for millions of years. Unless there is Something greater than the universe to rescue them? We have a choice: prayer or the void. Prayer or nothingness. Prayer turns to God and says, "You are here." Emotionally and intellectually the experience of prayer can seem dry and insignificant just like everything else we do. That is the great lie: that prayer is just more stuff that I do during the day. Prayer is something that God does in me. He whispers in my heart. If the desire to lift my mind and heart to God stirs within me--however faint and weak and wretched that desire may seem--it means that God is attracting my heart, He is drawing me to Himself.

God calls us to pray everyday. He has given us the words. "Our Father...." To accept God's words and address them to God in obedience to God is already the beginning of the conviction that the "stuff" of the day is more than it appears to be. Hallowed be thy Name / thy Kingdom come / thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. There. I prayed it. I lacked ardor. I didn't pay attention to the words. I begin the words and my mind was immediately sucked back into the stuff that surrounds me and that appears so real, the stuff that is perishing all around me, the void....

Still, an event took place within my heart. Saying the words is the beginning of the affirmation of eternity. God will bring the rest: the attention, the conversation, the conviction, the transformation of the way I look at reality. He will do so in His time, according to His plan. But I must be faithful. I must pray. Pray, pray, pray. Even if that means just saying the words and believing and hoping in God.

We do not need to fall into nothingness. Jesus. His very name is a prayer. "God saves." God, save me.