Our minds are always active. We analyse, reflect, daydream, or dream. There is not a moment during the day or night when we are not thinking. You might say our thinking is “unceasing.” Sometimes we wish that we could stop thinking for a while; that would save us from many worries, guilt feelings, and fears. Our ability to think is our greatest gift, but it is also the source of our greatest pain. Do we have to become victims of our unceasing thoughts? No, we can convert our unceasing thinking into unceasing prayer by making our inner monologue into a continuing dialogue with our God, who is the source of all love.
Let’s break out of our isolation and realize that Someone who dwells in the centre of our beings wants to listen with love to all that occupies and preoccupies our minds.
Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5.16-18
There is so much we cannot know by thinking, including some of the most fundamental questions regarding “life, the universe and everything…” – how then can we know how or what to pray for everyone of whose pain or need we come to hear. How can we possibly “pray without ceasing” as Paul recommends?
I so often find myself adrift in strange seas these days, my hair and beard crusted with the salt of old tears, that my heart fills up with the longing for God, for his mercy and his judgement, before I am even aware of what is going on. As I do gradually become aware, all I really know are the words of the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner…” Was I praying the Prayer all along? Was it praying me? I don’t know. But the shadow of the Cross lies over it all, and the figure of our Blessed Lady seems to draw alongside me in the twilight air. She is, after all, Stella Maris, the Sea Star…