Amma Syncletica said, "In the beginning there are a great many battles and a good deal of suffering for those who are advancing towards God and afterwards, ineffable joy. It is like those who wish to light a fire; at first they are choked by the smoke and cry, and by this means obtain what they seek. So we must also kindle the divine fire in ourselves through tears and hard work."
The Practice of “doing battle with our thoughts” may mean that we:
Honour how we feel. We are made up of multiple selves/energies. They long to be welcomed in, in a radical act of inner hospitality.
Attached to these feelings are the stories we tell ourselves. Some of these stories are not life-giving or healing. We may need to let some of these go, slowly over time.
My invitation to you this Lent is to create a prayer corner in your home. Our homes are just as holy as church buildings. Perhaps you could set up a place with an icon, a candle, a flower, the sayings of the desert mothers, stones, a cross, a rosary. A place where you can be for a time each day and pay attention to both the feelings (sometimes really uncomfortable) and the thoughts associated with them. Knowing that you are fully accompanied and loved in that place.
Until we are present we cannot pray. Once we are present we must pray.
Resources from the Sermon:
- Justine Gaunt in 2011 (She is a writer and journalist and co-director with Simone Wood of Appily Ever After Publishing, a small publishing company producing fairytale apps for iPhone and iPad.) Wilderness as symbol blog
- Illuminating the Way: Embracing the Wisdom of the Monks and Mystics By Christine Valters Paintner Amma Syncletica - the warrior
- Making a home altar: Home altar link
Photos and Art:
Image 1 Photo by Tim Graves
Image 2 : George Rouault
Image 3: Peter Paul Ruebens