Day 7: Driven to Distraction

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Photo Credit: The Hamster Factor

Photo Credit: The Hamster Factor

Readings for Today

Humanity’s inclination to distract itself from discomforting realities will often manifest in a destructive drive towards excess.

For example, verbose forms of prayer may, paradoxically, be an attempt to avoid articulating our true thoughts and feelings. In today’s Gospel, Jesus offers a more concise form of prayer that encourages us to be more trusting and less acquisitive. In fact, Jesus goes so far as to recommend we seek only to meet the needs of this current day and to remain free from temptation.

Anthropogenically induced climate change is a painful symptom of our inclination towards excess. Overconsumption is contributing to an intensification of existing weather patterns, which can render vast areas of cropland barren due to droughts and flooding. We are shifting the biosphere away from the bountiful images used by Isaiah in the first reading. Such habits of overconsumption are also likely to distract us from attending to the ‘word of God’ of which Isaiah speaks, which includes a call to justice that can be facilitated by living more simply.

Reflection Questions:

  • What things am I prone to consuming or accumulating in excessive amounts?
  • What might I be trying to distract myself from when I seek more than I need?
  • What freedoms might I discover by reducing the amount I consume?

Jacques St Laurent, S.J. recently completed a Masters at the University of Victoria, Canada, where he was examining the impact of climate change and land development of drinking source water. Following this, he spent a while wandering the world by foot, bicycle, boat, bus, and (very guiltily) the occasional airplane. He had fun, but ended up somewhat exhausted. He has returned to his homeland of England, in a similar fashion to the Prodigal Son, and is trying to act like a promising candidate for the British Jesuits.

1 reply
  1. S. Lynn, CSJ
    S. Lynn, CSJ says:

    In today’s Gospel Jesus teaches us in prayer, we need only the simplest words to speak with God. This reflection is powerful in thought but takes me far away from God’s simplicity.


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