so easily wrapped up

“I have a strong feeling that my intellectual formation is just as much a hindrance as a help to prayer.  It is hard not to desire good insights during prayer and not to fall into a long inner discussion with myself.

Every time some kind of insight comes to me, I find myself wondering how I can use it isn a lecture, a sermon, or an article, and very soon I am far away from God and all wrapped up in my own preoccupations.  

Maybe this what makes the Jesus prayer so good for me.  Simply saying, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me” a hundred times, a thousand, ten thousand times, as the Russian peasant did, might slowly clean my mind and give God a little chance.”

-Henri Nouwen, The Genesee Diary

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