I’m so happy the warm weather is finally here! Wait, who said that? Yeah, I know I complain about the heat and whine about how much I miss winter, but summer has its great bits too. There are green things everywhere, I can play catch or frisbee on my lunch breaks, and most importantly, I can ride my scooter to work every day!
Not only do I save a ton of money on gas (the scooter gets 100mpg) but I can also sneak over to Sacred Heart Church during lunch for daily mass. I kicked off the season in style today by showing up in my Nintendo t-shirt. I only realized how I was dressed when I got to the door. Oops! But as soon as I sat down, I forgot all about it and relaxed. I decided that the bit of time before mass began would be a great time to start working on the contemplative prayer I’ve been reading about in my new book, Armchair Mystic. The vocation director of the Maryland/New York Provinces sent it to me with a few other books to help me stay focused while I’m working my way north.
The book, by Mark E. Thibodeaux, SJ, is a great introduction to contemplative–that means wordless–prayer. I’ve only had it a few days but it’s been a struggle to put down. I know I should take it slow and practice the things I’m reading for a while before I rush on, but the writing is so friendly and the topic is so intriguing. Some of the recent exercises I’ve read remind me so much of the guided meditation I used to do back in the day. It’s wonderful how the author has managed to pull in so many ideas from so many places and still make the book seem like a consistent process and idea. I’ll have to write more about it when I finish reading.
So back in the church I was sitting in the pew working in vain to silence my mind and let God pull me into his presence more fully when all these thoughts came flooding into me. Just like I learned a long time ago, I let the thoughts come and gently flow back out of me, trying to maintain an empty, silent state. It was working well until I got wrapped up in the joy of being in church again on a weekday. It has been so long since I’ve been to daily mass I’d forgotten about how much it lifts my spirits for the rest of the day. The thoughts were so happy, in fact, that I decided to put off trying to empty my mind for contemplative prayer for another day. I just wanted to bask in that feeling a little longer.
I’m looking forward to this season as my time in Atlanta draws to a close. It’s not a bad city no matter how much I complain. It might not be the right one for me, but I can see why people would like it here. There’s a lot of great people I’m going to miss, but I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to stay in touch.