March 12, 2012

Motor Memory

In advance of my anticipated big move to Italy, I  have made a transitional move to our friary of post-novitiate formation. I lived here myself, of course, when I was in temporary vows and studying for ordination. That was six years and four moves ago. Our home is not here, but in heaven.

The room I have been given is on the same corridor as the room I had when I last lived here. Even after a couple of weeks, when I come out of the stairwell I still find my feet and eyes pointing me to my old room. I have to catch myself. Through all of the places I've lived, through all of the joys and sufferings of the past six years, hidden away in the memory of my eyes and feet was the orientation to my old room. It was there all along. I never noticed that this bodily memory was there, and why would I have?

Perhaps there's a lesson and encouragement about prayer in this. Maybe prayer is less an activity, and still less something I decide to do or not--let us put to death our inner semipelagian!--but just a consent and a surrender to an orientation that heart and mind have had all along. Underneath all of the undulation of devotion and dissipation, in the soil beneath the weeds and wheat of my meager acts of love and my outrageous selfishness and sin, perhaps there is a heart that would turn to God without a thought or reflection if only I would get out of the way.

It is through the only-begotten Wisdom of the Father that we are created, and the imprint of divine wisdom is on our hearts and minds. We have only to let go of the unwisdom of the world, to let the waters of our baptism wash the mud of distraction and sin from our eyes and ears and heart. Then we will find that we are becoming ourselves, the blessed humanity which God has regenerated for his glory, and that we have known who we really were all along.

No comments: