Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Reason for Restlessness

Once, after major surgery, I spent the following day in an anesthetic stupor. When my mom asked me how I was, I tried to bring an answer out of my sluggish brain: "I'm so restless." I later found that expression an interesting substitute for the more direct concept, "pain".

Our local Bishop Dennis Schnurr addressed the problem of restlessness in his pastoral letter. There are plans to offer our diocesan paper online, but at this point it's not available. The bishop is an excellent preacher, and this seems to be a favorite theme. I recall at one small daily Mass some time ago that he also spoke of restlessness. He said we have to "settle down" and embrace the circumstances of life that Christ gives us. We always have that tendency to spin out, trying to control and manage everything.

In his Lenten letter the Bishop states:
As odd as it may strike us at first, it is true. God has created us to be restless! What may seem to be a defect is really a feature, God's homing beacon in our hearts. As Genesis tells us, we are created in God's image and likeness. That reality is profound, but among other things it means that from the moment of our conception, God looked up us, loved what he saw and immediately called us back to himself. That's the fundamental source of restlessness. Jesus even built this yearning to return to God into our prayer life when he taught us to pray "thy kingdom come." It is downright Christian to be restless.
The Bishop goes on to show how our restlessness sometimes sends us off in the wrong direction, because we try to fill it with useless things. He concludes:
During Lent we are asked to evaluate life and realize that it reaches its fullest glory after this body of ours returns to dust. Ashes are not the end. They are only the beginning of the "resting" in God's presence, for which we were created and for which we long.

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