Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Contemplation and Work

Soldiers don't get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. - 2 Tim 2:4-6

"...go to work for God, trusting that if we seek only to do His will, He will take care of our interior recollection, and make up for the distractions and failings that may creep into our activity." - Thomas Merton

The cares of everyday life cause me so often to lose sight of what is important. Papers and exams--all for a degree, a piece of paper that seems to have little to no eternal significance. But this is where we're called to be and doing these things can become an act of worship. God actually can be present in all of our daily activities, even outside of our conscious awareness. He is in everything and everywhere after all.

Alas, I'm not the good soldier who doesn't get tied up in the affairs of civilian life or a very good athlete for that matter. But Paul goes on to say that even "If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful" (v. 13). Merton says that if we seek to do His will, He will take care of the rest. At some point, we must realize that it was never about our own efforts to reach God anyway; He is already here, in us. Even the desire to be more spiritual (whatever that means) is often selfish. I try to lay aside the frustrations I have with myself when I desire to be more heavenly-minded and less distracted; for to violently fight against distraction and actively seek an awareness of God will do no good; this awareness is a gift, and God will give it whenever and to whomever He wishes. Instead, boast in our weaknesses and embrace our poverty, finish our work with gladness and never lose trust in God who always remains faithful.

-John Orzechowski

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