Lenten Journal for the Second Week of Lent

O Lord, what will it take to wake me up? Why is it so hard to pay attention and to stay focused when I pray? Were we not meant to be united with you in deep communion? How easily I drift into sleep like your inattentive apostles! I can understand them; I try to work hard all day, to be present to people and responsibilities, to get things done quickly and well. And when I finally find some quiet moments to pray, weakness takes over so quickly. “Do as John did at the Last Supper and fall asleep on the Lord,” a priest told me once in confession. I don’t think he meant every time!

It is a consolation to know that you, too, grew tired and fell asleep during the storm at sea. As with your incarnation, in that incident at sea, were you giving us “permission” to be human? So often I try to carry more than I need to, and it doesn’t work. It is impossible for me to do all I desire; no wonder I falter under the burden. “God is my co-pilot” the old bumper sticker proudly announced. “If God is your co-pilot,” a more insightful sticker proclaims, “switch seats!” You are the Lord, not I.

But I want to stay awake! Not only in prayer, but in all of life. I want to live life deeply, fully present to those around me, my family, friends, coworkers, the person on the street. I want to keep aware of the sufferings of your people around the world. I want every person to know the dignity you have given them. But do not let me be tempted into making projects out of all this good; if I am present to you, I will be present to them. And when I forget you in my outreach to them, wake me up to your presence within them, and we will be reunited.

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