Sunday, November 17, 2013

Monday Morning Meditation #103: On Not Understanding

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.


  1. Hello Elisabeth, I wish you the best.

  2. As a cradle Catholic, at first I thought I knew all there was to know -- I didn't. Later, I, like you, read and studied much and learned much, but never really gained wisdom on what it all meant. In His own good time, that was given to me as His gift; no matter how much I searched, I would have not found it on my own.

    I am an analyst by nature and read many, many books, magazines, papers, etc. I'm inclined to think I can figure out most factual things, but faith is not just a matter of facts I can measure. It is a gift. The day I realized that was the day in which I began to become wise.

    May you continue on your journey in wisdom and holiness, as He provides.

  3. Hope you have an awesome Thanksgiving!
    Blessings and prayers,

  4. Thanks, Melvin.

    Good insights, Do Not Be Anxious -- thanks for sharing.

    Andrea -- the same to you, Sitka, and all your furry family!