Advent in a Time of Microwaves Print
Written by Michael Fones   
Friday, 18 December 2009 08:35

The clock on the wall of the kitchen accuses me this morning of wasting time.

So many things to do!
Prepare retreat
Write a homily
Work on workshops
Due right away.
Long put-off projects weighing on the conscience.

So many expectations!

Made bed
Microwaved instant outmeal
Microwaved chai tea
wolf down both
finished before 5:30 (an hour before Mass)
say morning prayer
"I will look to the Lord and look forward to the coming of God my saviour." (antiphon for the third psalm)


When prayer becomes a box to be checked, it’s not longer about relationship, but about duty. Prayer becomes something I do, rather than the core of who I am.
When prayer is all about what I pray, or what I say, or what I do, then it is less and less about my being.

In a first world life that demands an end to waiting, prayer doesn’t stand a chance.
The twenty-five checkout stands at Target promise, “you won’t have to wait to pay.”

Even my oatmeal promises to be instant.

The microwave where I live is used fifty times more often than the oven.

How many ways am I reminded of the time?
My watch
this computer
My Google homepage
My phone
The car
The bank sign (which offers me the temperature, as well – how thoughtful!)
The clock on the wall, constantly tocking to me, every second of the day.

No waiting.
No waiting.
No waiting.

Watch intently, for the Lord our God is very near. (Antiphon for the Benedictus today)

But an essential part of prayer, the lifeblood of contemplation is waiting.
Waiting puts the emphasis on the other, rather than me.
In a narcissistic world waiting is an affront, an assault on the imperial “I”.
In a relationship of love, waiting is delicious anticipation – at least when one knows the beloved will arrive, eventually.

My faith tells me that waiting in prayer, watching, attentive, is one way I can offer myself to my beloved.
It’s so simple, even a child can do it.
- Come, Lord Jesus. (response to the intercessions at morning prayer today)

It’s so easy, if I just let the limelight shift from me to another.
– Come, Lord Jesus.

It’s so easy to wait in prayer.
– Come, Lord Jesus.

It’s not a waste of time.
– Come, Lord Jesus.

I just have to die to myself.
Ironic, isn’t it, that a euphemism for killing someone is to “waste” them.

Perhaps that’s what the heart of prayer is.

A “waste” of self.