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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Obstacles 3

Today I'm reading Luke 5

1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Thinking about obstacles to our spiritual life, one place where we experience this the most is in praying. We talk a lot about praying, but do we actually pray! We say we want to grow in our faith but we have a hard time doing the things that actually promote spiritual growth, like actually praying. Maybe you can identify with these classic words:

“There is a moment between intending to pray and actually praying that is as dark and silent as any moment in our lives. It is the split second between thinking about praying and really praying. For some of us, this split second may last for decades. It seems, though, that the greatest obstacle to prayer is the simple matter of beginning, the simple exertion of will, the starting, the acting, the doing. How easy it is, and yet – between us and the possibility of prayer there seems to be a great gulf fixed: an abyss of our own making that separates us from God.

“To make matters worse, we can approach the abyss that lies between us and prayer and retreat from it under cover of being-too-busy or having-family-obligations, or even serving-God-in-other-ways. This seemingly justified retreat makes the approach more difficult the next time until there is a last, before beginning, a beginning of beginning, and so on ad infinitum. A mud wall is built by the crawfish claws of our reluctance, hardened into clay , baked by the passage of time, till at last it seems to difficult to break down.” (Emilie Griffin, Clinging-The Experience of Prayer).

Are you erecting mud walls? Then be honest, when was the last time you spent any real time praying?


Today’s prayer: God, unto whom all hearts are open and unto whom every will speaks, and from whom no secret thing is hidden, I pray You to cleanse the intent of my heart with the ineffable gift of Your grace, that I may perfectly love You, and worthily praise You. Amen. (The Cloud of Unknowing)

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