Monday, August 23, 2010

Train of Thought

Last Sunday at Mass, in the short time between the consecration of the bread and the consecration of the wine, I had this train of thought:
The smell of a woman in front of me reminded me of a lady I took care of when I worked at the Courtyard (dementia care facility) --- which made me think of dementia and I wondered who is the youngest person to ever suffer from dementia --- which made me wonder if I will ever get it --- which made me wonder if you could have symptoms of dementia for being overly tired (because I was feeling tired) --- which reminded me of a movie that Andrew and I watched part of (but turned it off because it was pretty bad) called The Machinist with Christian Bale. (It is a creepy movie about a man who suffers from insomnia and has not slept in over a year) --- and I wondered if it is even possible to go a year without sleeping --- then a gory scene from the movie began replaying in my mind where there is an accident at a factory and a man's arm gets stuck in a machine and is torn off and his severed limb is shown spinning around and around on the machine (Ick!)
So there I was grimacing to myself, when I was drawn out of my mind by the words, "Do this in memory of me." (and then the bells rang) Then I began internally reprimanding myself for thinking about such a horrible scene during the consecration! Not being aware of the path that led me to this thought, I wondered - why was I even thinking about that movie? And then I traced back my thoughts to see how I got from listening to the consecration of the bread to replaying that gory scene from The Machinist. And it all began with a smell... It's amazing how something as simple as a smell can trigger such a quick chain reaction in our minds! I say "our" because I hope I'm not the only one who has this problem! =)

I think that Satan really manipulates and tempts us with these little distractions. This might be a great failing for a lot of the "good" people out in the world. Outwardly, a person could look very good and holy, while internally they let their minds trail off. It is so easy to be distracted and turned away from Our Lord in our minds. And this is a problem that no one has to know about. We can hide this disconnect from everyone, even those closest to us. There is no one to hold us accountable because this is a problem people don't really talk about much, other than saying "I get distracted."

I don't think people realize how dangerous distractions are. The vessel for our prayers is our thoughts, for even the vocal prayers we say originate from our minds. So if our minds are easily distracted, then prayer probably comes as a difficulty (at least, I know this is true for me!). I'm not sure how I can concretely work on controlling my train of thought; I welcome any advice! I hope that eventually I can keep my thoughts centered on God and on good things. I hope that someday I will be united to God throughout the whole day, by being vigilant regarding what thoughts I allow myself to dwell on, making sure that they are always pleasing to Him.


  1. Despite the fact it came during the consecration, I love your train of thought :-D.

    I read this quote yesterday by St. Francis de Sales: “If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master's presence. And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back and place it again in Our Lord's presence, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed.”

    I don't know if I could keep it up for very long, but I suppose it's like putting a kid back into the time out chair when they take themselves out... even if all you do for an hour is put them back into that chair until they stay, it's necessary and still time well spent :).

    -The Mind Wanderer Extraordinaire

  2. Ooooo, I like that quote a lot! How perfect that you read it yesterday - just in time to pass it on to me!