According to the divine plan, action must be fed with prayer. The interior life is the wellspring of the apostolate. Do not believe in the slogan, "The priest is sanctified in sanctifying others" - it's an illusion. The real formula is, "Sanctify yourself so as to sanctify others. - Blessed Edward Poppe: (1890 - 1924: was a Belgian priest. He was declared blessed by Pope John Paul II on 3 October 1999.)
Gospel Text: (MK 11:11-26)
Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area.
He looked around at everything and, since it was already late,
went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry.
Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf,
he went over to see if he could find anything on it.
When he reached it he found nothing but leaves;
it was not the time for figs.
And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!”
And his disciples heard it.
They came to Jerusalem,
and on entering the temple area
he began to drive out those selling and buying there.
He overturned the tables of the money changers
and the seats of those who were selling doves.
He did not permit anyone to carry anything through the temple area.
Then he taught them saying, “Is it not written:
My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples?
But you have made it a den of thieves.”
The chief priests and the scribes came to hear of it
and were seeking a way to put him to death,
yet they feared him
because the whole crowd was astonished at his teaching.
When evening came, they went out of the city.
Early in the morning, as they were walking along,
they saw the fig tree withered to its roots.
Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look!
The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”
Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God.
Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain,
‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’
and does not doubt in his heart
but believes that what he says will happen,
it shall be done for him.
Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer,
believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.
When you stand to pray,
forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance,
so that your heavenly Father may in turn
forgive you your transgressions.”
Excessive anxiety, worry and fear rob many people of their inner peace. The stresses caused by the demands of modern life are having serious consequences on people's mental health, which in turn are having serious effects on people's physical health.
Those who suffer from a lack of inner peace due to anxiety, worry and fear quickly turn to medications to relieve their pervasive symptoms. The amount of Americans taking sleeping pills and the amount of children and teenagers taking some kind of medication for anxiety are astounding.
One solutions for this epidemic loss of inner peace is contemplative prayer! – To be honest, another solution is going to confession with a priest once a month, but that is a reflection for another time.
Look at prayer as a conversation with God. Prayer is like continually being in love because God is real and personal. No matter what might be going on in our lives, we must always pray, and pray daily. Prayer is the air that we breathe. When I speak to you about a life of prayer, I am not referring to the mere saying of prayers. I am talking about something much deeper.
There are different types of prayer. One form of prayer is vocal prayer and another form of prayer is mental prayer. There are two types of mental prayer. One form of mental prayer is meditation and the other form of mental prayer is contemplation.
Meditation and contemplation are quite different. The person who meditates usually uses the Scriptures or some other spiritual book. Contemplation does not employ any books at all. Contemplation is the prayer of the heart and not of the mind. Contemplative prayer may focus on a word or a mantra or one may simply sit in the presence of God (in the Blessed Sacrament) during a Holy Hour.
Ours is an anxious and chaotic world. Isn't it time that we got back into balance? Excessive work and travel, excessive involvement in sports and entertainment are tearing us apart. The experience of God through contemplative prayer will restore balance and peace into our busy lives.