Dealing with Distractions

Seven Sister: One holy hour/one priest/each week/one heart of prayer

"Each leaf, each blade of grass vies for attention.
Even weeds carry tiny blossoms to astonish us."
- Marianne Poloskey

Greetings dearest Seven Sisters... 

A shared experience as intercessors, to this degree or that,  is distraction in prayer. There are times when our prayers seem to spill out as fragments of thoughts and appear likely to have no hope of reaching even the ceiling of the chapel.  And never is it more distracting to be distracted then when one is so earnestly offering that prayer for another's soul!  

Let us not lose heart! We are not alone in this experience.  Others have tread this path, and actually become Saints through perseverance of that path.  They  offer encouraging words and will no doubt make haste to help us in intercession to likewise persevere. 

As she grew close to her death, Bl Elizabeth of the Trinity (soon to be canonized) began to sense that she would have a special mission in heaven to pray for those still on earth to experience the grace to move away from our distractions and enter more fully into God's presence. 

St Elizabeth of the Trinity, pray for us!

St Francis de Sales reminds us that intentional, persistent efforts have merit:  

"If you do nothing else the whole time of prayer than bring your heart back and put it beside Our Lord, although each time you do so it turns away from Him, your hour will be very well employed."  

He counsels us to anticipate the hardships of distractions, but also the rewards of perseverance:

"His will is, that entering into prayer, we should be prepared to suffer the pain of continual distractions, dryness and disgust, which may come upon us, and that we should remain as constant as if we had enjoyed much peace and consolation.  It is quite certain that our prayer will be none the less pleasing to God nor less useful to ourselves, for having been made with difficulty." 

Begin the Hour by consecrating every minute of that Hour for the recipient of your prayers - come what may, distractions or not.

A Seven Sister intercessor can offer the suffering of distractions itself for the benefit of the priest.  Only in the marvelous perfection of divine economy can we expect such dividends!  Also as St Francis reminds, there is the added benefit that we have the certitude that our prayers, albeit imperfect, are pleasing to God.

St Teresa of Avila, presents her transparent heart, that we may likewise be assured that Our Lord is completely aware of all that our hearts endure:

"I could neither pray nor read, but there I remained, for hours together, uneasy in mind and afflicted in spirit on account of the weight of my trouble, and of the fear that perhaps after all I was being tricked by the devil, and wondering what in the world I could do for my relief.  Not a gleam of hope seemed to shine upon me from either earth or heaven; except just this: that in the midst of all my fears and dangers I never forgot how Our Lord must be seeing the weight of all I endured..."

ON A PRACTICAL NOTE: Our contemporary, Fr George Kosicki, CSB, imparts some advice:

"Anytime you come into the Eucharistic presence of the Lord and find that you are distracted and anxious about situations in your life, you can begin your prayer time with a litany of mercy as a way of letting go of all these thoughts. How?  Let me suggest a method that has helped me. 

Simply begin asking the Holy Spirit to pray in you, and then respond to each of the distractions and anxieties - from whatever source - with short prayers such as: 'Jesus, mercy' or 'Jesus, I trust in You."

Imagine that each of the distractions, anxieties, fears, or hurts is a slide-show.  Project one 'slide' at a time on the wall and pray your response, and then move on to the next 'slide.' You will be surprised when suddenly you have run through all your slides and are at peace in the presence of the Lord." 

A final edifying comment from St Alphonsus Ligouri: "If you have many distractions at prayer, that prayer of yours may well be upsetting the devil a great deal." 

Keep up the good work, ladies!  Pray that your priest becomes a Saint - nothing less!

United in prayer and mission -
that our prayers may find the heart of every bishop and priest
... eternal gratitude as you remember to offer a wee Hail Mary for me each day....


 Prayer (oil on canvas) ~ John Phillip (1859)

The 2nd annual Seven Sisters gathering in Iowa (April 2) was memorable and inspiring!  Since last year's retreat, there are 18 more priests covered by daily prayer!!!  What a wellspring of graces through the generous sacrifices of prayers of these women. Lasting gratitude for your stellar example!  Dubuque diocese coordinator, JoAnn Olson - you rock!

My prayers heartily join yours as you commit in this upcoming month of May to discern (see Guidelines) your continued commitment or departure from the weekly Hour Hours as part of a Seven Sisters Apostolate group.  I will offer a Holy Hour for you and your discernment on May 6, the First Friday in May.

As we grow in knowledge, love and service of our priests, it comes to happen that we desire the same for our knowledge, love and service of our Eucharistic Lord. Many Seven Sisters (and friends) have signed up for free daily Eucharistic Reflections through the Apostolate, Truth Himself. Click here: Truth Himself  Anyone can be added to the distribution list anytime by sending me an email. Please include name.

Madonna of the Grapes, pray for us!
St John Vianney, pray for us!
St Margaret Clitherow, pray for us!