Straying thoughts when trying to prayer

In case you wondered, you’re not the only person whose thoughts have ever strayed when trying to connect with God.  Here’s the prayer of a 9th century Irish priest…

Shame on my thoughts, how they stray from me! I fear great danger from this on the day of eternal judgment. During the psalms they wander on a path that is not right: they run, they distract, they misbehave before the eyes of the great God. Through eager assemblies, through companies of lewd women, through woods, through cities – swifter they are than the wind. One moment they follow ways of loveliness, and the next ways of riotous shame – no lie!

O beloved, truly chaste Christ, to whom every eye is clear, may the grace of the sevenfold spirit come to keep them, to hold them in check. Rule this heart of mine, O swift God of the elements, that you may be my love, and that I may do your will! That I may reach Christ with his chosen companions, that we may be together: they are neither fickle nor inconstant – they are not as I am.

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