Often our minds can be scattered and moving in a thousand directions at the same time. Instead of our interior life being at rest and peaceful, it can feel chaotic and volatile. This takes place especially when we sit down to pray. Such experiences make us hesitant to spend time in prayer, and we prefer the distractions that the world has to offer. Things such as television and movies can dull the interior noise that seems to impose itself upon us when we are alone.
Learning to enter into silence is a delicate art that takes time, practice, and patience. There are no quick fixes that give us the freedom to be alone with the Lord in the solitude of the heart. However, that does not mean that we cannot take simple steps to move from where we are now to a place of intimacy with Christ.
The key is to be obedient to the moment. In many circumstances, this means accepting our station in life and the obligations that the day requires of us with surrender and abandonment. Instead of constantly battling against our circumstances, we must learn to cultivate stillness in the midst of our activities and engagements. Many times we rebel against our station in life. We tend to think that saints are formed in circumstances that are far removed from the reality within which we live. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
In terms of prayer, it means accepting our interior life without condemnation or criticism. Learning to accept our pain and discomfort gives us the freedom to present our burdens to Jesus. Instead of our praying having to conform to some angelic ideal, we must learn to accept how we pray without judgment. In this way, we learn to appreciate that in turning to the Lord in prayer we have already made a heroic effort in our spiritual life. In time, our Lord will guide us through the silence, bringing us transformation and healing.
The gift of interior stillness is grounded in being obedient to the moment because it is precisely in the moment that God communicates his unconditional love. On good days and bad, our Lord walks with and speaks to us his words of consolation. Through revelation, we already know the content of what Jesus wants to communicate. This, in turn, gives us an intuitive sense of how those words become incarnate in our lives. Through obedience to the moment, we allow the words of Jesus to penetrate the veil of ignorance and open our lives to the explosive power of His unconditional love.
This is why we must meditate constantly on His word. We must allow it to captivate our intellect in such a way that we breathe the word, sleep the word, consume the word and let ourselves be consumed by it.
What if our station in life is a part of a relationship that does nothing but tear us down and look for the negative in us? What do we do then? Accept it? Offer our pain to God and pray that the Holy Spirit changes the persons heart? Turn to God in prayer so that he might show us peace and give us the grace and humility to deal with it?
Thanks for your comment Chris. It all depends on the particular situation. Discerning God’s will in the concrete cannot be theorized about (though there are helpful guides). If someone you know is in such a situation, I suggest seeking the counsel of someone who is a good listener. Often, we discover God’s will when we are able to share our struggles with another person in a way that helps us to process them and to look at them with some distance.