Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Exaggerated Images

In his book, Contemplative Prayer, Thomas Merton touches on the importance of having a right perspective of ourselves.

"It (prayer/meditation) means the renunciation of all deluded images of ourselves, all exaggerated estimates of our own capacities, in order to obey God's will as it comes to us. . . "

I don't know about you, but I struggle with this all the time. I picture myself as being so much more effective, more disciplined and righteous. I imagine that I'm nice to everyone. But so often I catch myself thinking critically of others or being judgmental. Did I mention my selfishness? No? I don't like to mention it to myself either. 

And one more thing, I can't stop thinking about what I want to be when I grow up! I dream about where I want to live, how successful I'll be. By the way, I'm 45! Wonder when I'll grow up. But I think it's because this life just isn't as exciting as I thought it'd be, not as many people are being saved, helped or changed--at least that I can see--from my life.

God help me. I am so prideful. Merton's words "deluded images of ourselves," and "exaggerated estimates of our own capacities" knock me on my face before my God.

Father forgive me and help me renounce these delusions so that I can focus on actually doing Your will. Though it may not seem as grand or glorious, by faith I believe my obedience in the small things will make an eternal difference.

Thomas Merton was a monk, poet, and author. You can read his compelling testimony in the book, Seven Story Mountain. To learn more about him go to www.merton.org

I'll be using excerpts from Contemplative Prayer in the coming weeks unless I have a book review to share with you.

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