221 Panes of Glass

221 Panes of Glass

by Sr. Sheila Campbell MMM                             Ireland                    06.06.2024

There are two hundred and twenty-one individual panes of glass in our chapel. How do I know this weird fact? Because I have counted them, of course!
Even after many years of practice, often prayer does not come easily. I want to pray, but my mind is distracted, thinking about work, or a conversation I had recently. And I turn to irrelevant tasks like counting panes of glass.

The reason I am telling you this is to share what I do when I get so distracted in prayer. Instead of trying to put these distractions out of my head I try to pray with them. What do the panes of glass do for the room? They let in the light and a picture of what is happening in the outside world. Immediately the world’s trouble spots come to mind, so I pray for those afflicted by wars, hunger or disease. I look at the rain outside and think of the farmers and all who work upon the land. I remember the many places of our world where rainfall is scarce and water sources are precious. So many of our MMM projects around in Africa and South America are to do with water capture and management. Without clean water there is no health!

When a conversation bothers me into distraction, I try to pray for that person – especially if I am annoyed with them! We never know what is going on in their inner lives, the challenges they are facing, the decisions they are struggling to make. I ask for guidance for them and patience for myself. Often, God just jokes with me and says, “Don’t take yourself so seriously!” And often I hear the comforting phrase, “don’t bother saying any prayers, just stay and keep me company for a while”.

I am not sure if this is the best way to deal with the times when the mind wanders off. It is the only way I have found to date. I am always open to suggestions!