I apologize. To each of you; to all of you.
First, I’m sorry for what clearly is a lazy approach to this piece of writing. I have a feeling that everyone who tries to blog consistently for their own website has endured a substantial stretch of time with inconsistently producing new pieces of writing. And to feel like they have actually written something, they start a new blog post by saying something like “I’m sorry I haven’t written much lately …” followed by a few excuses. I plead guilty of my lazy approach to this piece.
This has been a tough summer. And it might not improve any time soon.
June was perhaps the most productive blog-writing month in my seven roller-coaster years since creating this website. I don’t know what inspired that prolific period. It wasn’t completely unprecedented in my writing life. When I was at writer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, I was known frequently to write thousands of words daily. But June was something unusual for my online writing life. Not that I ever lack the words. I have a theory about myself as a writer these days …
I write to think.
I haven’t stopped thinking these last few months. In fact, I feel like my mind is more crowded than usual, with ideas and musings bouncing all over the place. Normally, writing helps me organize the mental chaos, make some sense of it, learn from it. Yet since the end of June, I have averaged five pieces a month – about a third of my goal. I feel like I’ve made an unofficial promise to regular readers, occasional readers and just people who happen to find my online home that I will consistently produce things both in the area of depression/mental illness and Catholic Christian faith. That’s not even taking into consideration the other websites I have promised to supply regularly with blog pieces.
Frankly, I’ve just gotten really busy with the things that more powerfully demand my time and attention. Most time-consuming is my “day job,” my duties at a major financial institution as a supervisor of financial advisors. That work pays my bills today and, I hope, for quite a few years to come.
And my mental health has been a factor. I have been on intermittent leave status at my day job for quite some time, and there have been days when I couldn’t go to work or at least couldn’t make it until early afternoon.
I haven’t always had much time to write. If I did have time, I tried to use it for more urgent needs: Dinner, or answering long-overdue emails, or catching on life with my wife, my dad, my children … Or I spend time in prayer.
I haven’t been really good at that last thing, either. For some reason, I consider my writing as an “extra” in my days, and I shouldn’t. Remember, I write to think. Sometimes, it feels, I write to live and breathe. Unfortunately, I also treat prayer as an “extra” some days. Not that I don’t pray at all. Every day, I send God a bunch of intercessory prayer and I thank Him, nonstop and profusely, for just about everything. Every day, I conduct ongoing conversations with God about anything and everything. But I like to carve out special time daily for Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Night Prayer and some meditation, then hopefully praying a rosary and a few other favorite devotions. I confess that I don’t always fulfill those desires if I’m really busy or – alas – if I’m really tired.
I apologize, God.
I have a feeling He understands. He won’t give up on me. I hope you understand as well; please, don’t give up on me, either.
Allow me to propose a new motto involving my writing:
I write to pray. I think to pray. I do everything … to pray.
When I read things said and written by the saints or other truly holy women and men, I observe that is what they did. Every word spoken and written, every thought they had, all were meant to edify God, communicate God, praise God. To that I truly aspire.
As an example, I give you a prayer once offered by Blessed Louis de Blois, a 16th-century Flemish monk and mystic. When I first read this, my heart soared, and it continues to do that each time I re-read it. I hope it resonates with you as well.
O God, ocean of sacred love and sweetness, come and give Yourself to my soul. Grant that I may continually long for You with my whole heart, and absolute desire and burning love, and that I may live in You. O my true supreme joy, may I prefer You to all creatures, and for Your sake, renounce all transitory pleasures!
O Lord, nourish this starving beggar with the influx of Your divinity, and delight me with the desired presence of Your grace. This I long and beg for, so that Your vehement love may penetrate, fill and transform me into You.
O loving Redeemer, make me burn with love for You, making no account of myself, and finding my delight in You alone; may I know and enjoy no one but You. O overflowing abyss of the divinity! Draw me, and immerse me in You! Take all the love from my heart and apply it to Yourself, so that I may be dead to all other things.
My soul calls You, and seeks You with indescribable love, O delight of loving embraces! Come, my Beloved, come, You whom I desire above all, that I may possess You within me, and that my soul, may embrace and hold You close! Come into my soul, O sovereign sweetness, and let me taste Your sweetness, and delight and rest in You alone.
O my Beloved, Beloved of all my desires, let me find You and then hold You and press You close in a spiritual embrace. I desire You, I sigh for You, O eternal Beatitude! Oh, give Yourself to me, unite me closely to You, and inebriate me with the wine of Your love!