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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Vanity

"What profit comes to man from all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he has labored under the sun? All his days sorrow and grief are his occupation; even at night his mind is not at rest."  Ecc 1:22

Most of us have had sleepless nights. Worried about a child or a friend, or overly concerned with a health issue or something we have to do the next day, we find ourselves going over and over a problem that we cannot solve, fix or make go away, and despite counting sheep or praying the rosary, we lie awake for hours.

From one perspective the book of Ecclesiastes can be very hard on us in this regard. Calling our restlessness a vanity when we act as if we can control life with more effort and desire, the author reminds us to throw all our cares upon the Lord and trust that God can and will guide us and direct the world. But Ecclesiastes is also comforting. If we take time each day to listen to and attend to God's life at the heart of all that is, we gradually learn to let go. We might not sleep easily but we will be less frantic and more accepting of our human condition.

For some insomnia is an illness and a life threatening condition, and the scripture is not suggesting that this sickness is something we bring upon ourselves because we are vain, but it does remind most of us that we need to pray more regularly and live Gospel centered lives. Faith should not be a Sunday obligation, but a way to live in right relationship with all creation.

Today, let go into God's hands totally for 10 minutes.

How do you understand the biblical notion of vanity/

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