Thursday, September 09, 2004

a thumbnail for life

Why do we pray? Why does God require worship? Why is devotion important? Surely this is not to satisfy some vanity of God because vanity has no place in God. So why does Jesus teach us to spend time alone with our heavenly Father? I'm sure there are many answers to that question, but today I'm going to concentrate on just one: the idea that our time in prayer is a tiny mirror of our entire walk with God; a thumbnail of our lives.

I have mentioned previously that I meditate everyday. I started this form of silent prayer because it seemed a very good way to fight my desire to possess God mentally, letting myself just be with God. It also represents a tiny sacrifice of myself to God. The Christian life requires that we give ourselves completely to Jesus. He calls us away from our work, our pleasures and our family to follow him. Yet how many people succeed at doing this? I know I fail miserably, and yet I believe that my time of silence with God represents a small step in the right direction. For those twenty minutes, I sit and I try to abandon myself. I struggle with all the thoughts, desires and preoccupations that my 'monkey mind' wants to chatter about, and I try to focus on a word that calls God into my life. When God grants me the grace to say the mantra with an empty mind, I experience that sacred presence that is best summed up by the word 'joy'.

Sometimes I feel uncomfortable meditating, I can't wait for it to be over, and I allow my mind to entertain all the trivial thoughts that wander into my head. But then, at other times, I decide to focus my attention, and I recite the mantra with few moments of distraction. At these times, I enjoy my meditation, and I feel that joy, that presence of God that (in spite of everything) makes us leap up and declare with Browning:

God 's in His heaven—
All 's right with the world!

Then this morning I realised that this is God's invitation to us. This is his demonstration of how much better things can be when we give ourselves over to him. We think sometimes that our distractions and trivial pleasures can make 'all right with the world', but ultimately God is our only consolation. Here the time of prayer becomes the thumbnail for life. If my meditation is better, healthier and more enjoyable with total sacrifice to God, then how much more will my life be better with the same level of sacrifice?

Of course, this easier said than done, and I do not know the way in which to give myself entirely to Jesus just yet. But as they say, God's timing is perfect. All I can do is continue to meditate and pray in a way that gives my self to God. And yet, the sacrifice to God is not the only implication of this thumbnail prayer life. I will continue tomorrow, any comments are, as usual, very welcome.

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