Tuesday, July 04, 2006

When Life and Prayer Become One

St. Anthony said in passing, "The prayer of the monk is not perfect until he no longer realizes himself or the fact that he is praying." The early Desert Fathers, those who inhabited the deserts in the fourth century, sought to lose, or perhaps simply shed, ego. That "I" which experiences, and acts, and thinks, that "self" which is forever dwelling upon itself, like Adam at the very moment of self realization when the "I" came flooding forth -- a river, a lake, an ocean now separating Adam from God, humanity now all alone with but an inner monologue in stead. Some spend a lifetime building rafts, tiny boats, even stately ships, attempting to sail across that watery divide, only to drift in circles or founder or even sink.

The desert is a place where only necessity survives, where extravagance has no place, where ego is stilled and "I" is at the mercy of simplicity, for any baggage will only impede one, and even the slightest impediment will be just enough for the sands to swirl and the sun to bake and what is, will soon be forever, what was. So, a perfect place for one to "no longer realize himself or the fact that he is praying."

And this is so. In the heat of summer, when predawn walks still the inner monologue, when the senses are keen and the slightest breeze will cause the hairs on one's arm to dance, when a distance quail springs from some brush and for an instance the air comes alive, when suddenly your eyes seem to take in more than they are capable of taking in, you, like a handheld video camera, course through this landscape, and it and you and the morning blue canopy overhead, all unite into an orchestrated whole, and for just an instance one can feel, feel as thought one is walking on the sandy seabed across that watery gulf, and high overhead, walking too,
atop the water!
is Jesus!
trail blazing!
the way!
back home!

1 comment:

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