Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ever Been Too Peeved to Pray?

From The Three Ages of the Interior Life Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP Catholic Spiritual Teaching: "The interior life is precisely an elevation and a transformation of the intimate conversation that everyone has with himself as soon as it tends to become a conversation with God."

It really hit me last night just how much I struggle with this conversation. The ear-splitting wail of a motorcycle racing up and down my street at midnight completely interrupted my sleep. A couple fighting, accompanied by some guy yelling close the door, man, just close the door fifty times had me looking out the window. My favorite 2am noise now? Beer bottles smashing against dumpster walls echoing through the night.

About two months ago, a new bar--no, motorcycle hangout--opened at the end of our street. We and our neighbors have witnessed couples fighting in our front yards, motorcycles racing up and down our street after midnight, litter being thrown onto our property, and all those wonderful little perks you get to enjoy when you live close to a bar. I gripped my rosary, begging Our Lady to help me to focus, but I just couldn't at first. My peace had been completely disturbed, and now, tired and angry, all I could focus on was myself and how I felt. Eventually I got through the first few prayers of my rosary, and when I began to focus on the words of the Our Father, I finally drifted off to sleep.

Of course we're taking action. I called our councilwoman this morning, and we're documenting all incidents we witness. It might, however, take months for this problem to be solved. In the meantime, I have to find a way to live with it. Hence, my struggle in my conversation with God.

Garrigou-Lagrange writes:

"This progressive manifestation of God to the soul that seeks Him is not unaccompanied by a struggle; the soul must free itself from the bonds which are the results of sin, and gradually there disappears what St. Paul calls 'the old man' and there takes shape 'the new man.'"

Hm. Anger is a sin, isn't it? Last night I allowed my anger to distract me to the point that I couldn't pray. I also woke up late, which made me late for work, which rekindled my feelings of anger once again. It occurs to me as I write this post that I neglected prayer this morning.

I wonder...what other things, apart from last night's chaos, distract me from prayer?

Do you find yourself in this predicament as well?


Anonymous said...

my dear Gina, ah yes, i forgot to "THANK" you for the several hours a night on the porch with the pooches with those "BEAUTIFULLY LOUDER" than an arom bomb motorcycles........ they woke me up constantly. and what was worse was that one night, while enjoying the porch, there was even a COP CAR parked over at the plaza to "catch" drunk drivers leaving the bar, but NEVER budged an inch about the ten minute rituals of standing in one place revvivng up the mortorcycles to show they're stupidity and unthoughtfulness of being inside of a "neighborhood"... so be gentle on examining yourself, if you "should" be upset or not...i must admit, i started reading, FINALLY, "the shack" during all that "displaced male testosterone challenges", on the porch...i think i read the SAME sentance AT LEAST five times over and over because of the "uncaring world outside"....so, it's not just you... when I produced a new "church directory" last year for my parish, I found a beautifully appropriate quote about your situation, for our "youth group" page of photos... it stated "OUR YOUTH, OUR FUTURE...TO HEAR GOD'S VOICE, TURN DOWN THE WORLDS VOLUME".....a HUGE challange for youth, but perhaps for us ALSO....so I agree with you using all "human" resources available to "PROTECT" your RIGHT to reasonable peace..... think of how many other "not as brave" neighbors you have that you COULD be also helping to "QUIET THE WORLD" for.....it truly is NOT you inability to "tune out and concentrate" but definately a matter of "middle aged" adolence of self-centered people "outside"......find YOUR peace, HOWEVER possable, that is why GOD has given us a legal system, to protect our own piece of the world's beautiful PEACE. make you stand, totallt guilt and seelf blame "free'..... love always, janet

Gina said...

Well, that's sort of the problem here, the fact that I can't find my peace. But thanks for the support anyway. Our Councilwoman told me this morning that she would send the Police there today, and we have a detective friend at the local PD who told us to document everything and send it with a letter to our councilwoman and copy the Mayor and the PD.

This whole thing takes me back to my post of the other day: (http://realmetanoia.blogspot.com/2009/08/blasted-back-to-reality.html) When there's no peace, you can't pray, you can't study, you can't live. Amazing how connected everyone and everything is.

nkz333 said...

Just this morning I was praying my daily Rosary and not one, but two cars pulled out in front of me and then went 20 below the speed limit and most of my route is NO PASSING. So, in the middle of my prayer my blood starts boiling and I get royally peeved. I wish I could say I'm innocent in the matter, but I end up mumbling unkind words sometimes or thinking them. The truth of the matter is that prayer is what binds us to our Lord via faith, but the world is really what separates us. Prayer connects the visible with the invisible. When people or situations draw a wedge between that we can start to essentially burn that bridge. Yikes, reminds me of how I fail the responsibilities I am given and where I need work! Sometimes your blogs start me off in one direction and I end up all over the place. Very thought provoking subject Gina, I only wish that you didn't have to stay up all night to get these ideas that inspire me so! I will pray for you to have rest and peace on your street again!

Gina said...

NKZ, thanks for reading...you are 100% on the money with the world separating us from the Lord. You know I'm a sucker for the mystics--St. Catherine of Siena talks about finding that place of peace within that is never disturbed, no matter how chaotic or disruptive the rest of the world is. There for a while I was finding that place; but all my animosity toward that bar, plus the lack of sleep is really pulling me right out of mine, too.

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