Thursday, May 13, 2004

Productive Prayer 

I can hardly regret having escaped the appalling waste of time and spirit which would have been involved in reading the war news or taking more than an artificial and formal part in conversations about the war. To read without military knowledge or good maps accounts of fighting which were distorted before they reached the Divisional general and further distorted before they left him and then "written up" out of all recognition by journalists, to strive to master what will be contradicted the next day, to fear and hope intensely on shaky evidence, is surely an ill use of the mind. Even in peacetime I think those are very wrong who say that schoolboys should be encouraged to read the newspapers. Nearly all that a boy reads there in his teens will be known before he is twenty to have been false in emphasis and interpretation, if not in fact as well, and most of it will have lost all importance. Most of what he remembers he will therefore have to unlearn; and he will probably have acquired an incurable taste for vulgarity and sensationalism and the fatal habit of fluttering from paragraph to paragraph to learn how an actress has been divorced in California, a train derailed in France, and quadruplets born in New Zealand.
-- C.S. Lewis writing about WW I news around 1916, from "Surprised by Joy"

I feel I must take this to heart. I am often captured by the war news (which is almost always wrong, as Lewis says) and it is even worse today with sites like Drudge and Lucianne which don't limit us to one or two editions a day, but continually, 24/7, allow us to learn what can't be proven to be completely true. How much more time would we have today to expand our minds and souls if we could free ourselves from the news and television.

One of the questions we have to answer for RCIA is, What growth have you seen in your faith since you started coming to RCIA or simply during this past year as you've made the decision to consider joining the Catholic Faith? I must say, I have a better understanding of the Bible through reading the Catechism. Methodism seems to have ripped the Bible up from its moorings in real life and has left it to float on nothingness. I find, thus, that now Prayer is more meaningful, more productive. I find I'm better able to resist temptation, avoid sin and strife. I find I'm better connected to my faith since I was in such disagreement with the direction of Methodism before coming to the Catholic Church.

So, here's the thing. I find, now, that if I pray for something--something like strength to resist the donut shop on the way to work, or peace of mind at a busy time--if I pray for something that I know, deep down, I have control over, that prayer is answered (can I thus assume the prayers toward things I have no control over might be answered as well?). Before, when I was a Methodist, I didn't feel the same productivity in prayer. Thus, I haven't said a prayer for strength to avoid watching and reading the news... yet... because I know, I deep down know, that prayer would be answered. I just don't feel ready to ask for that change, the changes in my life and my attitudes are coming rapidly and all for the better.

Soon. Soon I will ask for Time and God will give it to me.

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