Advent with the Prophet Jonah: Day 9

“When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.

Jonah 2:7

It’s extraordinary how long we can try to live disconnected from the source of life. One of the things I value about Jesuit spirituality is the way it leads us to identify the sources of consolation and desolation in our lives, to pay attention to the things that bring us peace with God and those things that create unease in us. I for one can ignore the unease for some time, keeping busy, blocking out silence with distracting noise. All of this time I can feel that I am living, but it’s like I am functioning on an ever-depleting oxygen supply: soon, it will run out, and what then? Perhaps then I will blow up in anger, like I’m grasping at life on my own terms, or I collapse on the ground, unable to do any more, like Elijah in the wilderness. And sometimes I can revive briefly; some source of encouragement comes along with just though fuel to help me stand up again. But so long as I am ignoring the source of life Himself, it will only ever be short-lived, incomplete.

Many of us, like Jonah, can remember God when our lives are “ebbing away”. But can we remember Him when our lives are running along nicely? Can we remember Him when we are sailing in the opposite direction, when we know we are wrong but are too proud to admit it?

Teach us, Lord, to be uneasy with everything that is not real life, so that we will learn to long for Your life alone – even when it means surrendering life lived on our terms.

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