PONDER YOUR DISTRACTIONS
One of the most commonly reported problems in prayer is the matter of distractions. Most of us are convinced that a wandering mind is the sign that our prayer is insincere or imperfect. Trappist Brother Paul Quenon, O.S.C.O. sees it differently. Quenon comments on the appearance of a moth during his evening meditation:
“St. Augustine took it as a mark of original sin that he could be so easily distracted from sacred reading by an insect. I take it as a sign of grace that something so small and comic can suddenly invade my solitude. Distraction it is, but my concentration is not to be coveted exclusively as a personal possession.” (The Art of Pausing: Meditations for the Overworked and Overwhelmed, p. 95)
We’re quick to make a virtue of our focus, as if discipline is a mark of sanctity. We may be taking our concentration, and ourselves, a little too seriously. Prayer isn’t an accomplishment, in the vein of constructing a house, completing a project, or even baking cookies. At the end of our meditation, we have nothing to hold in our hands, not even the ashes that remain after a ritual holocaust offering. No trophies are given for a masterful session of contemplation. Prayer is simply, and profoundly, a time of sharing with God. Does it matter if our conversation involves psalms, silence, worries, or moths? The Creator of them all values the sparrow, the lily in the field, and the hairs on our heads with equal interest.
reprinted with permission from TrueQuest Communications