Tuesday, August 11, 2009

more caution tape

I talked about "red flags" in my last post. These are things that bring my attention to the fact that I'm not exactly in the right place. Thoughts like "What will make me happy right now?" and "You deserve it." are huge ones. But it's not all about thoughts, there are other indicators too.

As I've talked about before, we live in a physical world and, for now, our souls are connected to our bodies (check out 'allergies'). Back in May and June, Fr. White preached a series about the Catholic Mass and why we celebrate the Eucharist. One of the weeks was dedicated to the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the part of the service that ends with Communion. He said that our ability to be present to God during that time in Mass is linked to our frame of mind, which is linked to our posture. Remember your school teachers telling you to "Sit up straight, and pay attention!"? Those two commands were given together for a reason...

Just like Fr. White talked about, another indicator of my spiritual fitness is my posture or physical state when I pray. Am I lying in bed at night while I rattle off a few prayers? Am I sitting up straight or kneeling? (There's also a reason why kneelers and lying prostrate are parts of the Catholic tradition too.)

It occurred to me a few weeks ago as I was in the middle of the 'lie in bed while praying but really just falling asleep' style of prayer, that I did have the ability to get off my back, sit up, and actually pray. You would have thought that the Spirit had prompted me to jump off a tall building the way I resisted. I really didn't want to kneel because I didn't really want to pray. Feelings like this one, and general physical feelings of discomfort are red flags that wave "Whoa, Brian. What's really going on here?" Think about the difference between bumping into someone and saying "sorry" versus muttering under your breath as they pass by? It's not the actual degree of pain in your body or even the person who collided with you. It's your own spiritual condition. Pay attention to your body, it knows what's up, even when you may not...

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