When Discipline Fails Us….

Regular readers of this blog will realize that in the past little while, there has been precious little to regularly read (though, perhaps, much to re-read).  I have been fully aware, of course, that I have failed to blog regularly, not keeping my commitment to do so on a weekly basis.  I found myself telling myself that I was completely justified in this lack of blogging:  I was simply too busy.

Then, I had the horrible realization recently that I had heard this excuse somewhere before.  Let’s see.  Where was that?  Oh, yes.  That’s it.  I had used this excuse before when I realized that I had fallen out of another habit:  the habit of prayer.  I told myself that this was quite understandable:  I was simply too busy.

Interestingly, I never find that I am too busy to eat.  Nor to sleep. Nor to breathe.  Now, blogging regularly hardly belongs in the same category as these basics of living.  But prayer certainly does belong there.  Or, at least, it should.  For a regular practice of prayer is just as important in the living of a sane and centered life as is eating, sleeping and breathing.  And when I fall out of the habit of prayer for a time (and, yes, believe me, priests do fall out of that habit from time to time) I eventually notice it, just as I eventually notice if I have gone too long without eating.  Rather than feeling a gnawing in my stomach, I feel a gnawing in my soul.

What I am dealing with here is a failure of discipline.  And I don’t mean to use that word “discipline” in a negative sense of obligation or punishment, but in a positive sense of a rhythm that keeps life balanced.  Regular blogging, and a regularized spiritual life, require just this kind of discipline.

Fortunately, God (and, I hope, my blog readers) is big on second chances.  In a sense, the whole Judean-Christian story can be read as a story of second chances.  Countless numbers of characters in the Hebrew Scriptures are given second chances, from Abraham to Moses to Jacob to David, just to name a few.  Likewise, Jesus’ ministry as it is depicted in the Gospels is constantly giving people second chances:  all those sinners are told that it is possible to find life again.  The story of the Resurrection is, in a sense, a story of a second chance, denying death the final word concerning our humanity.  And so, gentle reader, I know that when I find that I have fallen out of the habit of prayer, lost my spiritual discipline, I can begin again, and know that God does not chastise but rejoices in that.  Likewise I hope that you will rejoice (well, that might be a bit strong) that I have once again found my blogging discipline.  Of course, one blog does not a discipline prove.  So, tune in next week………

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