Saturday, January 15, 2011

Little Thoughts

On this frosty morning I think I will just write down some of the little notes I wrote myself during the week.

On Seeing God:
The local church is celebrating an anniversary of its founding this year, and has various events planned throughout the year. In the grammar school, the children were given a sheet of paper with the large words on it: “Seeing God in All Things”. The children were asked to draw a picture example and write words on where they see God. The pictures were hung from the windows along the hallway outside the church proper. Many children saw God in rainbows, or in the poor or other things you might expect. Some drawings were pretty good and some thoughts deeper than others, but I liked this one on where a child forgot her lunch, and saw God: “My mom gave me her sanwits and ate nothong.” An “A” for religion and a “D” for spelling, but if I were her parent, I would have hugged her.

On Doing God’s Will:
I think it is not enough to do the Lord’s will (although for most of us that is a most difficult thing in itself), we must not only do His will, we must do it with humility. If we gave away every penny we had to the poor, if we preached His Word to all we meet, if we love through our actions everyone we met, still that would all be imperfect if we did it without a love which gives all of ourselves.

Surely Jesus Himself must have been constantly tempted, He the perfect man, who had huge crowds follow Him, whose touch brought healing, who could command any man if He so wished. How He must have been tempted, as a man, to jump up in front of all those crowds, to raise His hands heavenward and scream at the top of His lungs: “Look at me! I’m not only like a god, I am God! Look at ME!”

But He didn’t do that. Of all the things He came and did, and showed us how to be the Perfect Man we should aspire to imitate, perhaps that is the most difficult for us: to be truly humble, to act with true perfect love, to give and not count the cost, and to care for our fellow man, whether he cares for us or not.

On How to Pray:
Lord, open my lips to praise your holy name. Cleanse my heart of any worthless, evil or distracting thoughts. Give me the wisdom and love necessary to pray this Office with attention, reverence and devotion. Father, let my prayer be heard in your presence, for it is offered through Christ our Lord. Amen.

I’ve prayed that prayer each morning for well over the last twenty years. I think it was about the fifth year that I underlined the words “Give me the wisdom and love” --- I tend to underline things I think important in my books, so that I can go back and reflect on those words separately at some time, and to remind myself of their importance each time I read them. I always seriously pray for wisdom and love; I think they are the two most important things, to know God’s will in all things --- to the degree this simple mind is able, and then to love enough to do those things, not for me, but for Him.

It was only in recent years that I circled the words “necessary to pray” in my prayer book. When I circle something it usually means that I’ve already underlined it, but that I suddenly saw something even deeper there, a new insight that I don’t want to forget. This is important! It’s a big reminder to myself.

While I always pray for wisdom and love, I must remember WHY I pray for those things, and not just pray for them out of habit. We so often pray out of habit, and perhaps the reason is that we lack the wisdom and love necessary to pray sincerely. Wisdom and love aren’t just another on the list of things to pray for, they are necessary to really pray at all. Prayer without wisdom and love is just empty words, without meaning, without reason for their being said. If I can remember, however, that wisdom and love are necessary for me to pray, are necessary for me to talk to God with meaning and sincerity, then I’ll remember how important they are. If I pray without wisdom and love, it is like my saying words in my living room with God sitting there on the couch, but I speak my words while walking around looking at the pictures, or while watching the television, or even while in my sleep. If I say my prayer, my conversation with Him without wisdom and love, it is like talking to myself, not even aware that He is in the room --- ignoring Him.

Wisdom and love are the reasons to pray. If I know His will or want to know it, and if I love Him and want to do it, only then can we talk about it. Until then, I’m only talking about me.

1 comment:

  1. Tom, I just read your email and had to come right over to see this. How about that? God must see that we both needed to think on the same subject this week! God bless you my friend, and thanks for this wonderful blog! Blessings to your mother, too!