The rush and pressures of modern life are a form of its innate violence.
To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns,
to surrender to too many projects,
to want to help everyone in everything,
to succumb to violence...
The frenzy of the activist...destroys our own inner capacity for peace.
It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work,
because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.
I am gaining all kinds of fresh insight into St. Thérèse of Lisieux here on retreat at the Canossian Spirituality Center in Albuquerque with the good Br. Joseph F. Schmidt, FSC. One thing he points out is that in the newest edition of the Catechism, Thérèse's definition of prayer has supplanted--not replaced, but supplanted--the old definition--"Prayer is the lifting up of our minds and hearts to God"--in the Baltimore Catechism.
Lifting, he observes, implies effort and exertion and is an action that we perform ourselves and as such, is more or less a masculine way of looking at prayer. Whereas a surge of heart is something that takes place within us and as such is a much more feminine way of looking at prayer. Here's St.Thérèse's version:
What is Prayer?
For me, prayer is a surge of the heart;
It is a simple look turned toward heaven,
It is a cry of recognition and lof love,
Embracing both trial and joy.
Also notable is that nowhere in the definition does the word "God" or "Christ" appear, the operative point being that everyone is invited, you don't need to have a degree in theology, and in fact you don't even have to believe in God...
Anyway I am trying to resist my own "frenzy" toward work and drink in this last full day of the retreat. I hope to report back on more of Br. Schmidt's important and EXCITING thoughts, but for now, here are some photos I took yesterday morning of the grounds as I wandered about with a giant cup of coffee...
|ailanthus aka "tree of heaven"|