Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wee Small Hours of the Morning

I have gotten up at 5am, more or less, consistently, for the past five days. I love the cool morning air, and the utter silence of the world this early in the morning. Since my husband sleeps for another hour or three, I slip quietly out of the bedroom and pad to the back bedroom, dog silently following. There I read, pray, and ponder for about an hour, while the dog stretches, scratches, and lolls about on the floor. I've realize how hard it is for me to pray now, now that my habits have suffered so much. I will sit down to pray and then think, oh I haven't checked Twitter...or sit down to pray and then find myself picking up my phone, for no reason at all. I have already checked everything. I just am not used to sitting without a (usually electronic) distraction.

Early Morning Dew by Alistair MacNeill

My attempts at being consistent in my early morning prayer have brought to light a deep-seated belief I was previously unaware of. That is, I honestly believe that if I prayed as much as I should and was as holy as I should be, that everything else in my life would fall into place. That is, that every problem that I have with myself would be solved by a right ordering of my priorities, with prayer always coming in first. I believe that my house would be neat(er), I would be healthier, I'd manage my money more wisely, my relations with others would be easier. To a degree of course this must be true: the holier we are, the closer we are to union with God, who is perfection Himself.

Old Woman at Prayer by Nicolass Meas

But of course we also know that saints have the greatest trials. Saints lives are not perfect, though they are perfectly ordered. The concept of holiness as a perfect "Martha Stewart" life must be false: holiness is often messy. Shifting my priorities would necessarily mean at some point paying more attention to a person (friend who needs a visit) than to things (areas needing cleaning). Yet holiness should not equal busy-ness either! It does not mean volunteering for every committee at your parish. Holiness consists in doing exactly what God wants of us, in each moment.

Which reminds me that I'm using this blog post to procrastinate from praying...

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