Saturday, October 9, 2010
Present Moments Observations
Completed writing about silence and solitude, the first two of the formation standard's of the Nine S'. Some observations float. Most adherents of the Order of the Present Moment may not be situated in the present, extreme solitude and silence that this soul experiences. Is nothing thoughtfully chosen, as in choosing with the full deck of cards spread out, face up, but consciously chosen all the same. Perhaps offering my life to Christ, for the Church and for souls, resulted in the current state of little contact with the world, especially since the editing job unexpectedly ceased nearly four weeks ago.
At that point, made a conscious decision to not fill in with other than all for God. Decided to spend what remains of earthly existence in effort of getting to know Jesus, read about Him, write about Him and notate the process, including hoping to climb the stairway to heaven. So yes, did up the ante a bit on my end, and it is not easy. Can admit that. Hard to be buoyant in affect, am a little low on exterior joy, but am massaging some resentments with forgiveness.
Noon Mass provided a Divine consolation. The priest from Africa with whom I have not spoken regarding particular situation occurring, either spoke to another priest or observed the sole priest who ventures to give me Communion during Mass. Today the priest from Africa gave me Communion, unexpectedly so, and a touch of grace as he is most kind and yes, more a spiritual being.
As for silence and solitude, though, one does need to practice these standards of formation and all of the Nine S'. Practice requires effort, most readily directed at cutting out at least some noise and activity. Jesus said that Mary chose the better part, and He meant what He said, despite the post conciliar trend away from the mystical and contemplative. Perhaps the Church followed the action-oriented society into the post-conciliar generated term: active contemplative.
Am not sure there is actually such a reality as an active contemplative, but the thought is good and hopeful. My reality leans into Karl Rahner's (surprising) quote: The Christian of the future will be a mystic or will not exist at all. Seems rather that we are all to be contemplatives, to choose the better part, as we then learn to function in our temporal lives, actively, all the while remaining what we have regenerated into the better part, were always meant to be: contemplative.
We know of persons (perhaps have tried this mode ourselves or are deep into it now) who are busy, busy, busy. Do not want to be alone, stay home, be quiet or have quiet. Move fast, talk fast, eat fast, think fast, drive fast, decide fast, pray fast--quickly, that is, and rushed. Having only written about silence and solitude, am smelling the scent of pride and selfishness in busy busy types. Yet, who can judge the inner motives of the heart? Well, we can, if it is our own heart, and most of us have been busy busy at some point.
So we kind of know (if we want to be honest) that there is pride involved in activity and being busy, and it can often be selfish because we often are busy in order to avoid our boring selves, or boring house, or boring silence and solitude. That is how we perceive non-activity, more often than not: dull and not a life. But what if we are busy busy helping at church, helping people, being on committees? That is busy busy, too, if the roots of our contemplative souls are sacrificed in order to distract by being religious busy busy. Who are we fooling, usually? Most of us have not stopped long enough to face ourselves alone in our inner beings. Nor have we faced in our alone, God alone, to contemplate and be taken into Him, and learn to contemplate Him while we are being active.
What happens when we stop the rush? Stop the noise? Stop the busy busy? Stop filling our lives with anyone we can snag? Dare we encounter God in the silence and solitude, the slowness? (Slowness is the next S to be pondered for the Order of the Present Moment.)
Well, there can be a kind of shock to the system if we embrace silence and solitude suddenly. The sudden shock happens to victims of accidents and disasters, illnesses and life-altering crises. But gradual, the process may be as painfully difficult. The doubts creep in, especially if choosing the narrow path, which may be trying to live in the Order of the Present Moment and being formed in the Nine S'. Yet, we must proceed, the steps taken. Realistically most of us will need to alter some existing, external conditions. Cut out some noise, social activity and busy busy. Live some present moments in silence and solitude. Slow the rush.
But besides altering externals, it is possible and the greater challenge to learn inner silence and inner solitude, and also inner slowness. Privatize, personalize, purify silence, solitude and slowness through and with the soul in God.
Perhaps that is the present moment issue, here, now. The externals are clipped. Am facing the inner not just in this present moment, but many present moments. Day after day, the moments seem longer, for there are not the distractions. Yet simple matters such as brushing teeth and little tasks, watering the gardens, pruning, sweeping, a little eating--become distractions. Bring all in to silence and solitude, no matter the distraction. The soul discovers many considerations that soon become inconsequential.
Wonder and hope: has all breath, thought, silence, solitude slowly become prayer?