Sunday, August 23, 2009
I'm persevering. Last Sunday's post, Aug. 16, "Hang in There," is also today's. That's due to the fact that distractions bother me to distraction! I sometimes think that my prayers are useless because I spaced out when praying and don't even know what I've prayed. Sound familiar?
Read Ephesians 6:18
Prayer is so important, that you can't just give up. I've been advised, which I subscribe to wholeheartedly, that it is the intention that counts, not the result. I certainly hope so.
When I first became serious about praying, I couldn't believe what an "air head" I was. I'd start a Rosary and finished in 5 minutes wondering what I did, knowing that I couldn't have prayed each bead. I'd try centering prayer and fall asleep. I'd begin the Our Father and realize that I was saying "and lead us not into the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints..." What the...?
You know what I did? I kept at it. It use to upset me that I couldn't get rid of the distractions. I asked everyone for advice. I tried every suggestion:
Incorporating the distraction into the prayer
Pray to St. Michael to protect you from distractions.
Just start over (you'd never finish if you did this).
Try a different time of day when you could focus better. (Ha!)
You know what worked?
You can't be human and not have distractions. Period.
I kept trying. I keep trying.
You get use to the distractions. They don't upset me anymore. I don't just deal with them, because I can't deal with them. I can't ignore them. I acknowledge that I was just distracted and move on. Like I said, you get use them. You don't give up. Don't waste your energy on beating yourself up. As I said before, it's the intention that counts.
Just to back up my theory, I checked with St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica. In Vol. 2, Part 2, Question CXXXVII, paragraph 899, and Aquinas said that when we persevere we are strengthened by God's gifts of habitual grace. He points out that perseverance requires "gratuitous help of God sustaining the human being in the good until the end of life."
This sounds reasonable to me, because on my own, I certainly can't do it. It takes God's divine grace. Let us pray.