Friday, November 20, 2009

Make God happy: voluntarily sacrifice some time to listen to his word

"With prayer and reading the Bible, it like all else is healthy and desirable: it goes more easily when it is done with a certain regularity. Regularity is a concrete expression for the faith which is an essential element in love. It is something other than iron-hard discipline but also something other than carelessness. Faithfulness causes me to pray or read not only when it feels good, and it means also that one can make an exception when there is reason for it. God doesn't want us to ask the impossible of ourselves, but he becomes happy when we voluntarily sacrifice some of our time to listen to his word, even if we just now don't feel any special desire to do it.
There are periods and situations when we lack the strength or quite simply the possibility to pray or read. But we often have more strength than we think. There is truly nothing wrong in making a little more order in our ife. It is very fruitful to make an extra effort to get over the threshold to try to overcome a certain adversity or apathy.

Love does not consist only of spontaneous movements and events; it means also hard work with yourself. Those who endeavor to discipline themselves will, it is true, often fail - those who don't try never fail! - and accuse themselves for this, often with justice. But why should we be afraid to fail? There is no progress without many failed attempts. And to the extent that our failure is dependet on fault on our part, there is forgiveness. Our failures create a greater need for forgiveness and can in this way lead us nearer to God. Nor is it so bad to undervalue oneself a as Christian. Haven't all the saints done it? It is part of love that that it never loves enough, and always wants to love more. You are never a complete Christian; at best you will become one."

-- Nourished by the Word: Reading the Bible Contemplatively by Fr Wilfrid Stinissen, ocd


Elizabeth Mahlou said...

That's the hard part for me: consistency. I spend time every day with God, but no two days are alike. I can't tell you the number of times I have mentally said thank you to the Gideons when I have found a Bible in my hotel room. (In the past four months, I have been in 11 states and 5 countries, and will be leaving again in two weeks. 't is hard to achieve consistency when my work schedule is a daily unique experience, but I do understand the importance of it.) Thanks for the reminder.

ocd sister said...

I understand your situation. Many years ago, I spent more time at airports and crossing European countries than my apartment. It is possible to get the RSV-CE Bible in pocket format through Ignatius Press and it is fantastic, nice zippered leather cover and all. You can also get the NAB Bible on CD or even its own unerasable MP3 player for about $60 and take the Bible with you wherever you are. Whatever little time you have, it's a gift you can offer God. Our lives can be extremely hectic, especially when there are children. But all you have to do is try a little at a time. Just a little. And eventually it will become part of your routine no matter where you are.