Friday, 18 March 2016

Leaning Into Lent: Day 33—Monkey Mind

Passiontide Morning Prayer includes A Song of Lamentation (a canticle from Lamentations 1) which goes like this:
1 Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? •
Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow,
2 Which was brought upon me, •
which the Lord inflicted
on the day of his fierce anger.
3 For these things I weep;
my eyes flow with tears; •
for a comforter is far from me,
one to revive my courage.
4 Remember my affliction and my bitterness, •
the wormwood and the gall!
5But this I call to mind, •
and therefore I have hope.
Observing a Holy Lent is a disciplined calling to mind of Jesus, all that he has done and still wishes to do through me. The important thing is to let Jesus do the talking.

Yesterday, I referred to Jesus taking the disciples “aside” (from Mt 20.17—the Gospel reading in the St James Devotional Guide) to talk to them on the way to Jerusalem and the cross. I call Jesus to mind, Jesus takes me aside, as he did the disciples, and speaks to me through the spiritual disciplines.

The trouble is, I have hearing Jesus problems. My motives are in a tangle. Having called Jesus, my mind has a tendency to move on to other things. Mine is a “monkey mind” swinging hither and yon, hooting and in constant motion.

Or, I might even have the temerity to call Jesus aside to tell him what I think needs doing. Peter did that once. It didn’t turn out well (Mt 16.22-23).

Scripture, the Daily Prayer liturgies and fasting hunger pangs all call my attention back to what Jesus is saying, if he chooses to say anything. Most days there is a word, a phrase or a verse which lights up. Sometimes he seems silent. No matter. My job is to keep listening and watching. I’d hate to miss it when he does decide to speak.