Lenten Reflections: Slow Work

snailPierre Teilhard de Chardin is one of my heroes. Not a saint. (Not yet.) But a Jesuit and a scientist.

Lent can be a slow work, testing our patience. Especially for those aspiring to virtue among us, it can seem like such a long slog through sin and fault.

Anyway, the man once prayed:

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way
to something unknown,
something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made
by passing through some stages of instability
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually. Let them grow.
Let them shape themselves without undue haste.
Do not try to force them on
as though you could be today what time
— that is to say, grace —
and circumstances
acting on your own good will
will make you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new Spirit
gradually forming in you will be.

Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

This prayer is cited in Kevin O’Brien’s fine book The Ignatian Adventure. I absolutely love that last thought, so personal and affectionate: give the Lord the benefit of believing in us. Plus the feeling of suspense and a lack of completeness–so much like so much music. I hope you readers are finding patience and slow work this Lent.



About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to Lenten Reflections: Slow Work

  1. He is a favorite of mine too, Todd. And I love that prayer, the whole of it – so glad to see you put it all in. In October, I finally drove 90 minutes south and got to visit his grave, which was so moving. Is there any better reminder of that trust of slow work? So much that he could not see and know in his own lifetime, including how he would be revered.

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