The ideal disposition for the divine encounter is silence and alert attentiveness. The practice of interior silence gradually produces the voice in the vision and the capacity to listen. It draws the false self from its self-centeredness and allows the true self to emerge into our awareness.
Our body and mind hold onto what we tell ourselves as well as how we perceive particular situations. I’m trying to expand my emotional language and self-awareness to shift my thinking. I have always been a high energy person able to accomplish a lot, but I’ve learned to train myself to sit still, and just be.
There is so much information in the world today and we have relatively easy access to gather information about almost any topic by reading a book, conducting a Google search, watching a YouTube video, you name it. It is harder, though, to find the time to actually sit down and learn about a new topic, a new language, or a new skill. How do I slow down and take the time to learn something new?
Have I had any visitations from the past or the future today?
In the beautiful and haunting painting by Jules Bastien-Lepage that hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, St. Joan of Arc is shown as a young woman in the garden of her home, with the transparent figures of St. Michael the Archangel, St. Margaret, and St. Catherine hovering above her. It is believed that this painting depicts the first time that St. Joan of Arc heard the call to arms to save France (when she was about 13 years old).
When I was in school, it was easy to find ways to learn and grow each day. I was always finding new information to read and explore to improve my mind. I also had opportunities to exercise and stretch myself through physical education and sport activities. Attending Catholic schools provided me with ways to grow spiritually through Mass attendance, daily religious education, and exposure to priests and nuns that taught in my schools. After I graduated and began working, though, the opportunities to make myself better each day — intellectually, physically, and spiritually — were not always readily available. It takes more initiative and effort to find opportunities and engage with them so I can continue to grow and flourish.
For those of us that live in large cities with miles and miles of freeway, it is inevitable that we have been confronted with drivers that speed, change lanes constantly, and veer into other lanes without warning. I often find myself angry and frustrated by near misses from other drivers (and have had a few uncharitable thoughts and words about other drivers). I struggled with my response and how I could better react to these situations that arise on an almost daily basis.
The spiritual journey is to love God above everything. To love with all our heart, mind, and soul. We do this through seeking what is true, right and just. The Spirit draws us closer through both beauty and through pain to the truth. That we were designed by God for God. Our human nature causes us to forget.
Recently, during my Holy hour when I first wake up in the morning, I read something through a new lens. This is the time that I spend orienting my day in prayer, God‘s word, and being attentive to my body.
We are told there is never enough. There’s never enough money, status, time, beauty, or life, and so the world sets us up to follow the gods of anxiety, the god of saving, the god of fear, and even the god of self-reliance. Holy Scripture tells us that we have a choice before us: live in prosperity or death and doom.