Friday, June 11, 2004

Finding recollection

Recollection is “the attention to the presence of God in the soul.” When work gets really frenetic and I try to re-center my life in Christ, I’m reminded of that organization The Society For The Prevention, Diagnosis, Prognosis and Treatment of Attention Deficit Hey Let’s Go Ride Our Bikes....

Yesterday was hell at work day. Deadlines were coming, passing, hit or missed. I was forever asking, wheedling, explaining, praising, cajoling and demanding. It just didn’t stop. Finally I tore my attention from my not-important-to-the-world but very frenetic work for five minutes to bolt down lunch, which was my breakfast bagel never eaten. I managed to remember to say the Angelus, but it was mentally barked out with a certain grimness and I felt the need to write something on my calendar mid-Hail Mary, and did so.

It’s better that we praise God even in the midst of bustle and hassle, than waiting “until later” which often never comes. But I’d like to get my heart and mind in a better place when I do it, and I know that doesn’t mean requiring a hushed cathedral, dimly lit by flickering candles.

How do you recollect yourself? How can you tell if you’re recollected?


Roz said...

From time to time, I've been reading a little book called Preparing Yourself For Mass by Romano Guardini. There was a chapter on Silence followed by one on Composure. It hit me right where you describe yourself (being that I'm a charter member of ". . . Hey Let's Go Ride Our Bikes . . ."). Here's a bit of an exerpt that I e-mailed someone, though I'm not sure whether it includes the best bits or not.

"Silence overcomes noise and talk; composure is the victory over distractions and unrest....

"Composure is more than freedom from scattered impressions and occupations. It is something positive; it is life in its full depth and power...

"Only the composed person is really someone. Only he can be seriously addressed as one capable of replying. Only he is genuinely affected by what life brings him, for he alone is awake, aware. And he is not only wide awake in the superficial sense of being quick to see and grab his advantage -- this is a watchfulness shared also by birds and ants. What we mean is true awareness: that inner knowledge of the essential; that ability to make responsible decisions; sensitivity, readiness and joie de vivre."

Henry Dieterich said...

You ladies put me to shame. I'm not sure that I ever have been recollected. In my vain attempts to do it, I have tried two things. The first is the one recommended by C.S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters (actually warned against by Screwtape, but that amounts to a recommendation) of making the problem of distraction a subject of prayer. The other I have learned by experience--to sing some hymn or psalm in my head. Adoro Te Devote works nicely for Adoration; mentally repeating a verse from Scripture also works. If anything does; most of the time I am far from being recollected.

Therese Z said...

Henry's method I use when I'm in a meeting and things aren't going very well, or I'm bored or fidgety or frustrated. I say the Jesus Prayer over and over, looking right at whoever is driving me batty, ideally seeing Jesus in his heart, but mostly just keeping my trap shut.

That is a GREAT definition of composure, because it is POSITIVE. We've all learned here in Catholic blog land that "feeling holy" isn't a passive thing, but an attitude of total engagement and attention. Composure should probably not be any less active.

I'll keep it in mind today.



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