prayerful introspection – and prayer itself

Roberta C. Bondi writes in To Love as God Loves that

Introspection means looking inside ourselves to see what it is that makes us tick or fails to make us tick in order that we may love.  It has to do with observing ourselves to see what we think or feel or do that hurts us or makes us hurt others so that we can do something about what needs to be corrected, and strengthen what needs to be strengthened. It involves acknowledging how complex we all are as we try to move in several often conflicting directions at once.  Wallowing in guilt or helplessness for its own sake is not what introspection is about, according to our literature.

. . . Being able to look into ourselves deeply takes real humility, and this does not mean acknowledging merely that we are sinners.  It is true that we are sinners, but it is equally true that each of us is vulnerable in all sorts of ways, and God who made each one of us also loves each one of us in all our fragility.  This means that we need not feel set apart from others by whatever introspection or conversation turns up within us, no matter what it is.

. . . Introspection and prayer are so integrally connected for the Christian that they are never completely separable.  This is because as we are consciously introspective, Christian introspection is done, not for its own sake, as though we are infinitely interesting in ourselves to ourselves.  Christian introspection is meant to lead to love, the love of God and the love of other people.  This kind of healing introspection is always done in the presence of God, even if we are not consciously aware of it.  it is the presence of God when we look inside ourselves that makes real introspection possible.

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