Abbot Philip: Distracted by Unhelpful Thoughts?


“… Inner silence and inner peace. What wonderful gifts are inner silence and peace in our lives. We have to work every day to maintain such silence and peace. It does not matter where we live or if we are married or if we are religious. All of us have challenges in our lives in order to remain silence and peaceful in our hearts. Almost every day of my adult life, I have had to take some time to refocus my mind and my heart. When I get distracted by unhelpful thoughts, by anger, by lust, by jealousy or even by laziness, I have to make a commitment to placing my life in the hand of God, of Jesus Christ.

I have not always succeeded in doing this and there have been some major lapses of time before I came back to my senses, but this sense of walking with the Lord has been a major element in my life since I was fairly young. By nature, I seem to want to live spontaneously and without having to think very much. I have told others that although I can think, thinking is not my general way of relating to life. My feeling about a situation is generally much more important to me than what a situation might objectively be. Over many years I eventually came to realize that I must use my mind as well and think objectively about situations as well as just feel them. For others, the challenge is just the opposite.

I am not one who believes that we have to work at psychological balancing all of the time, but there some truth to the need to find this interior balance in order perceive the world and ourselves correctly. All of this is for the sake of the kingdom, not for the sake of psychological health in and of itself. We are given life in order to seek the Lord and to live with Him every day in joy and gladness or at least with some comprehension of His presence.Each one of us is created in the image of God and we are all so different.

Many of us have similarities and that is why we can speak of personality types. We are all originals if we go very deep! Each one of us must seek his or her path with the Lord Jesus. Part of that path is always going to be suffering and part of it should be joy and delight. In order to find the path, we have to ask the way and that is why we pray. Sometimes we see very clearly the answer to our prayer. Other times, we must believe that God has answered our prayer and that Jesus is showing us the way even when we cannot see it clearly. Faith in Jesus Christ brings incredible trust and confidence, even when we are sinners. We know that He loves us and that He always will forgive us if we only turn to Him in the slightest inclination of our being. Let us pray for one another again this week.”–Abbot Philip, OSB, Christ in the Desert monastery

Read Abbot Philip’s full reflection.

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