This is the second post in this series on setting priorities and refocusing our lives. It is not the first time I have written about this topic and you may like to check out my earlier post Did Jesus Lead A Balanced Life where I talk about the need that all of us have for a balance between solitude and community, work and rest, spiritual and secular. To this in recent years I have added the need for balance between feasting and fasting.
Today as I think about this however I am coming from a slightly different angle. As I travel I am reading Strangers to the City: Reflections on the Beliefs and Values of the Rule of Saint Benedict by Michael Casey a Monk of Tarrawarra Abbey here in Australia. What caught my attention this morning is his comment
The purpose of a quiet life needs to be clear: It is to facilitate a quiet mind in which spiritual priorities become progressively more dominant. Nor is this withdrawal an invitation to isolation and introspection. It is, rather, a matter of providing the opportunity of entering more deeply into reality and of living from the heart. (25).
He goes on to suggest that living from the heart can only come from a heart that has tasted how good the Lord is and how energizing it can be to be still before the Lord.
I find that my own heart aches for this kind of priority. I have indeed tasted how good the Lord is and want spiritual priorities to become progressively more dominant, but when I am busy I must confess that this does not happen. Work not God so easily becomes my priority.
Reminding myself that my ultimate goal in life is to both draw near to Jesus, the lover of my soul and model the same priorities and values he displayed is an important regular discipline for me. None of us can hope to change if we do not intentionally discipline our lives to accept the need for change and work rigourously to see that change occur.
I have no intention of becoming a monk, but I do realize there is much I can learn from the disciplines they practice. Listening to the whispers of the inner voice that is only heard when I step away from external distractions, even from external excitement and seek only for the inner peace and contentment of a soul that has indeed tasted and seen that the Lord is not only good but more to be desired than anything else.
Lord God Almighty,
May I learn to live from my heart.
In times of quiet may I still my soul
That I might taste and see how good you are.
Lord God Almighty,
May I desire your presence above all else.
May I find my strength in being still
Before the one who is the lover of my soul.