Part 2 Martha’s Prayer Cupboard – Hospitality

Part of praying is like any hospitality –
you have to spend a bit of time making things right for your guest.
Jesus is someone who takes you as He finds you –
you don’t have to put on any airs and graces for Him – just as well, really..
But – once in a while – you do have to stop and give Him –
and yourself time to settle down – and this is where things get difficult.

The minute you sit down and think about giving Jesus a bit of time –
you immediately think of a thousand and one other things you should be doing.
If you manage to hold out against that – then in comes the guilt –
about not doing the one thousand and one things that you should have been doing…
The person who comes up with a solution to this
that works for everyone will make a fortune –
except that the solution seems to lie in being in heaven –
a state of eternal rest and life to which we can all look forward –
but which is not really within our grasp just yet!

So – this idea of spending quality-time with Jesus
is already posing its problems!
How do we do it – and not find ourselves
thinking and fretting about something else?
The answer is – we don’t!

One of the very best kept secrets about prayer is
that nobody – absolutely nobody can pray without distraction
(save those who are enjoying eternal rest – etc – see above…)
This is true – and comes as a shock to many.
Even Mary must have had to give way
to certain distractions sometime if you think about it!
Any great saint –
who you’d think could pray without any distraction whatsoever –
would admit to considerable aggravation.
There were the odd ones – as
in being exceptions, not just “odd” –
who could go off into raptures that lasted for days on end –
leaving the other several hundred thousand million of us
thinking that the chance would be a fine thing!

Distraction – bother – and that awfully convincing feeling
that you really should be doing something else are, therefore, absolutely normal.
If you don’t get them – then count yourself very lucky
(and maybe spend some of your undistracted prayer-time
praying for the rest of us!!)

Drinking from the Wellspring

Take some time out to do an experiment.

First stage:  Settle yourself down with a cup of coffee – tea – or glass of something – and have a piece of paper to hand.  Enjoy the moment – and jot down any thoughts and feelings that pop to mind. You can sketch them if that suits you better…

Second stage – not straight after the first… Settle yourself down with a cup of coffee – tea – glass of something – and have a piece of paper close to hand.
This time, tell yourself that this is prayer-time – devoted to thoughts of God – and only of God.  Jot down any thoughts – feelings – ideas that pop to mind.
Compare your lists…  Do your lists offer any insights into what Martha was talking about?

© 200X Wellspring

[This is one of a series of nine posts using one’s imagination to get inside a biblical character to make him or her come alive for listeners or readers.     Parts 3 and 4!will be posted next week.  In the meantime, I recommend you read or reread an article I wrote on distractions and prayer.  Simply click an the “My Writings” file above and click on the article.]

Wellspring is a Liturgy and Spirituality website in the United Kingdom. They have a variety of materials that may touch and inspire you.  Please check out their website for yourself: Wellsprings

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About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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One Response to Part 2 Martha’s Prayer Cupboard – Hospitality

  1. annette says:

    what a relief to know i am not the only one who gets sidetracked during prayers! i keep blaming the devil for distracting me!

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