Prayer, the hidden thread
September 14—Le Fresne church. Holy Hour. “Take My heart and press the blood upon France, upon the world, so that its purifying power may change the face of the earth. Everything can work together for good, you know, even evil. And I can make even those who seek disorder and violence contribute to My glory. But you must pray. You see how I am always asking you to work with Me. There again, don’t leave Me alone. Don’t you love to help Me? Try. You will discover that I’m helping you to help Me. Of course, I always help, My poor little girl, only you don’t notice it. I am the friend who does good in the home and who sometimes slips away before being recognized and thanked.” . . . September 21—Nantes. Chapel of the Recollects. Holy Hour.
People often talk of prayer as if it should serve a function that can be studied and verified by science. There are studies on prayer that contradict each other, and I believe that they are useless. Prayer is about a relationship with the Infinite, and for Christians, Jesus Christ is the revelation of the Eternal Father presented to us in such a way that we can get some understanding of the true nature of God, which is Love. It is a lifelong journey, with many twists and turns, failures and victories that bring us at the end of our lives, hopefully, to a total trust in God’s love, as well as a deep love and compassion for all, and yes, for those who have hurt us in any way
Love is an emotion, one that seems to answer the deepest longing of humankind. The reason that this is so, is because God is the love that we seek, though as the song goes, we seek it in all the wrong places. We then become frustrated or become backed into a corner that the only way out is a deep conversion of heart.
Catholics, I believe have a special understanding of prayer that leads us to not only pray for family and friends, but to feel united to all men, women, and children in the world. In prayer, the Holy Spirit lead s us to embrace all and to understand that all human beings, are the beloved of God. I am not saying that Christians from other traditions do not have this, but I believe it is because of the Marian aspect of our spiritual lives that leads us in a more maternal regard for mankind. The Fatima prayers for instances aren’t about ‘me’, or ‘I’, but about all of humanity. They are prayers for universal salvation, even though hell is a reality. We are supposed to live with the tension of these seeming opposing points, and simply live in the mystery, while we pray with hope.
To pray, to lift up, is to live out our ‘Priesthood’ to the fullest.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:9-12
When we do not pray from the heart, something changes in us. We can become rigid and judgmental in such a way that it chases people away from wanting anything to do with God or prayer. When we pray from the heart we grow in understanding that the struggles and failures of others are no different than ours. Perhaps how that is expressed is different, but when we forget our commonality with the rest of our brothers, and sisters, we set ourselves apart, that is not based on love, but at times actual hatred. When we stop becoming ‘childlike’, we become childish, unable to respond in a loving manner with those around us who are different, or who are ‘public’ in their sinfulness.
Each of us is the one that Jesus will leave the ninety-nine to seek us out.—Br.MD