Saints of God, the Lord be with you!
In today’s Gospel according to Luke (18:1-8), Jesus tells the story of a judge “who neither feared God nor respected any human being” confronted by a persistent widow. At the start of the Gospel, in a very unusual turn, Luke has Jesus telling us the point of the parable: “pray always without becoming weary.”
This theme goes well with the first reading from the Book of Exodus (17:8-13) in which Moses does become weary in his prayer so that Aaron and Hur “supported his (raised up) hands, so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” One of the great blessings in my life as a Franciscan is that our fraternity gathers twice-a-day, morning and evening, to pray the Liturgy of the Hours as a community. I start my day at 4 a.m., during which I drink two cups of coffee, and spend an hour reading Scripture, praying with some devotionals, and reading the Gospel of the day. All of this so that I can prepare a daily homily or work on my homily for Sunday. My alone time with God is important to me, but after all of this, to be honest, sometimes I don’t feel like praying together with my brothers.
But I do. I think the first reading shows us the need for, and the benefit of having, a support circle so that we don’t so easily walk away from our time with God. I need the witness of my brothers to help sustain me when the temptation is to not pray. And I would hope that they in some small way see my presence at our communal prayer as a help to them. All of this praying during the week helps me to better celebrate the Sunday Eucharist, the great communal prayer of the Church.
That’s the outline of how my prayer life is lived. But what of yours? So often in confession people say that they have neglected prayer. I gently ask them what their ideal prayer life would look like, and most of the time they give a description that closely resembles mine: a lot of time spent in relative quiet.
I say to them that may be an unrealistic expectation. Instead, I encourage them to salt their day with short prayers.
- THANKS: Meister Eckhart, a 14th century German theologian wrote, “If the only prayer a person prays is ‘thank you,’ that is enough”
- WOW or HELP: At the end of the day, before going to sleep, review the day and discover the blessings for which they are thankful, and for the things they regret, ask forgiveness.
No matter how we pray, the important thing is that we keep praying. Especially during the week as this will help prepare you for Sunday liturgy. Never give up on prayer. But be warned! Over time, prayer will change us more and more into the image of Christ.
Peace and all good,