The world is always pulling at us.
First begins the day’s work – four, five hours, one after the other. That means giving our concentration there. We cannot achieve in each hour what we want, perhaps in none. We must contend with our own fatigue, unforeseen interruptions, shortcomings of children, diverse vexations, indignities and anxieties. Or perhaps it is office work itself; the give and take with disagreeable supervisors and colleagues, unfulfilled demands, unjust reproaches, human meanness, perhaps also distress of the most distinct kind.
Then it is the final hour of work. Now where is the soul’s morning freshness? We come home exhausted, shattered. New vexations possibly await there. The soul would like to seethe and storm again: indignation, chagrin, regret. And there is still so much to do until evening. Should we not go immediately to it?
St. Teresa Benedicta (formerly Edith Stien) says “no!” The martyr-saint offers us some ideas from her publication, PRINCIPLES OF WOMAN’S EDUCATION:
Should we not go immediately to it? No, not before calm sets in at least for a moment. Each one must know, or get to know, where and how she can find peace. The best way, when it is possible, is to shed all cares again for a short time before the tabernacle.
Whoever cannot do that and requires bodily rest, should take a breathing space in her own room. “Prayer Chair”
And when no outer rest whatever is attainable, when there is no place in which to retreat, if pressing duties prohibit a quiet hour, then at least she must for a moment seal off herself inwardly against all other things and take refuge in the Lord. He is indeed there and can give us in a single moment what we need. The day’s work and problems will continue, but we will remain at peace with a “Prayer Moment.”
And retrospect shows that everything we did during the day was patchwork and much that one had planned, was left undone. When so many things rouse shame and regret, then take all as is, lay it in God’s hands, and offer it up to Him. In this way, we will be able to rest in Him, and actually be able to rest and to begin the new day like a new life.” This can be a form of “Formal Night Prayer.”
There is a “Gap” Between immediacy, insatiably, and efficiency – and a slow, soul shaping process of conforming our wills to the wills of God.
So, “Gird your loins …” Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.