I have now finished the Book of Daniel. Amazing, the number of visions and dreams he had and moreover was able to interpret. I rarely remember any of my dreams, and when I do, they seem to be pure nonsense. (I suppose Freud might have some idea about how to interpret them -- whether correctly or incorrectly would be another story.) One might envy Daniel's ability at dream interpretation, but then one must consider that Daniel had some divine help. Therefore, I found some great relief when I read verse 8 of the last chapter (chapter 12) of Daniel: "I heard but I did not understand."
Reading: Daniel 12:8
Meditation: When I first came to faith, I wanted to know everything. I tracked down books on apologetics, the catechism of the church, the mystics, and anything else that would explain "everything" to me. It took me some time before I understood that there is much that I cannot understand, will not understand, and should not understand. Accepting not understanding was one of the hardest things ever for me to do because I am a scholar by nature. Initially, I resisted the thought that grace alone is enough, faith alone is enough, trust alone is enough, and that knowing why is not essential. Over time, I have become more comfortable with not knowing. It is like a child's seesaw: as one side goes up, the other comes down, as trust in God goes up, the need to know everything comes down. Being grounded in not knowing I now understand to be a good thing.
Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning. I now retire to private prayer to praise God for His grace and to thank Him for teaching me how to trust without understanding. I will ask forgiveness for those times that I have resisted not knowing and insisted on an answer "why" -- which I did not get, anyway (and should not have). I will also ask God to continue to build my trust and my willingness to accept without knowing; somehow I think God likes to honor those kinds of requests. Then I will move on to contemplation, my favorite part of the day, letting God take over the direction in which my relationship with Him moves.
I will leave you now to your prayer and contemplation. First, though, I would like to bring to your attention a Monday morning prayer post that you might enjoy:
Fr. Austin Fleming, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and pastor in Concord, Massachusetts, posts a prayer each Monday morning that he calls "Monday Morning Offering." I enjoy his prayers very much. I think you also will find them inspirational. He has graciously given me permission to include a link to his blog on my Monday Morning Meditation posts. (During the week, he also posts great homilies and other thoughtful discussions. I enjoy reading those, too, as do readers of this blog who have taken the stroll over to his blog.)
For additional inspiration throughout the week, I would point out two sets of blogs: (1) the list of devotional blogs on my sidebar and (2) my blogroll, where I am following a number of inspirational priests and writers about spiritual matters. I learn so very much from all these people. I highly recommend them to you.