“In prayer we seek what John Cassian (360–430) called ‘integrity of heart’ or ‘integral wholeness.’ But when you’re honest before God, that can feel far off. Here’s Cassian’s self-diagnosis in his Institutes and Conferences – lethargy, sleeplessness, unsettling dreams, impulsive urges, self-justification, seething emotions, sexual fantasies, pious pretense that masked as virtue, self-deception, clerical ambition and the desire to dominate, crushing despair, confusion, wild mood swings, flattery, and the dreaded ‘noonday demon’ of acedia (“a wearied or anxious heart” that suggests close parallels to clinical depression). Cassian further admits that ‘there are many things that lie hidden in my conscience which are known and manifest to God, even though they may be unknown and obscure to me.’ And this is a monk who had devoted his entire life to prayer!” Daniel Clendenin
“I get so tired of beholding my brokenness. But the deeper I go into the depths of it, the deeper I experience my belovedness too.” Jonathan Martin
“The man who does not permit his spirit to be beaten down and upset by dryness and helplessness, but who lets God lead him peacefully through the wilderness, and desires no other support or guidance than that of pure faith and trust in God alone, will be brought to the Promised Land.” Thomas Merton
“I belong to my beloved,
and his desire is for me.”
Song of Songs 7:10
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- I can never help but smile reading Cassian’s list – it’s so familiar at points. Are you in touch with your “dryness and helplessness” like Cassian, Martin and Merton are?
- Do you keep seeking God in prayer even when overwhelmed by your brokenness? …when you’re “beaten down?”
- Have you attempted to let the experience of brokenness move you into a deeper experience of belovedness?
Beloved Silence: Thank you for listening to my confessions and failures. Under the shadow of your light, my darkness is no more. Amen. (Peter Traben Haas)
For More: Centering Prayers by Peter Traben Haas
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. Thanks! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”