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Thursday, September 13, 2012

letting go, day 4

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
Take, Lord, and receive all that I am and have. You’ve given it all to me; I give it all back to you. Do with me as you want. Just give me your love and your grace and that’s enough. ~St. Ignatius

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 130

Scripture for the Day: Romans 12:1-3

Reading for Reflection:

Moods are worth my attention.  I am discovering during these first weeks in Genesee that I am subject to very different moods, often changing very quickly.  Feelings of depressive fatigue, of low self-esteem, of boredom, feelings also of anger, irritation, and direct hostility, and feelings of gratitude, joy, and excitement-they can all be there, sometimes even during one day.  I have the feeling that these quickly changing moods show how attached I really am to the things given me: a friendly gesture, pleasant work, a word of praise, a good book, etc.  Little things can quickly change sadness into joy, disgust into contentment, and anger into under-standing or compassion.
     Somewhere during these weeks I read that sadness is the result of attachment.  Detached people are not the easy victims of good or bad events in their surroundings and can experience a certain sense of equilibrium.  I have the feeling that this is an important realization for me.  When my manual work does not interest me, I become bored, then quickly irritated and sometimes even angry, telling myself that I am wasting my time.  When I read a book that fascinates me, I become so involved that time runs fast, people seem friendly, my stay here worthwhile, and everything one big happy event.
     Of course both “moods” are manifestations of false attachments and show how far I am from a healthy form of “indifference.”  Thinking about all of this, I guess my main problem still is that I have not really made prayer my priority.  Still the only reason that I am here—I mean the only reason I should be here—is to learn to pray.  But, in fact, much of what I am doing is motivated by many other concerns: getting back in shape, learning some skills, knowing more about birds and trees, getting to know interesting people, and picking up many ideas and experiences for future teaching.  But if prayer were my only concern, all these other things could be received as free gifts.  Now, however, I am obsessed by these desires which are false, not in themselves, but by their being in the wrong place in the hierarchy of values.  That, I guess, is the cause of my moodiness.  For the time being it seems so important to be at least aware of it. (The Genesee Diary by Henri J. M. Nouwen)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: I Lift My Hands

I lift my hands to the coming King
To the great I Am, to you I sing
For you’re the One that reigns within my heart

I will serve no foreign gods,
nor any other treasure
For you are my heart’s desire,
your Spirit without measure
Unto you I will bring my sacrifice

Closing Prayer:
Lord God, be the delight of our hearts, even as we are the delight of yours. And help us to leave behind all thoughts, actions, and attitudes that do not reflect the beauty of that delight. May everything else pale in comparison with the passion we have to be truly yours. In the name of Jesus. Amen. (JLB)

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