Monday, October 14, 2013

"Prayer gives us a pure heart and a pure heart can do much."

"Keep your heart pure. A pure heart is necessary to see God in each other. If you see God in each other, there is love for each other, then there is peace." – Mother Teresa

Gospel Text: (LK 11:29-32)
While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
“This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here.”
We hear, but we don’t listen. Our eyes are open, but we don’t see.

In the Gospel today, Jesus talks about Jonah and the Ninevites. Jonah went to Nineveh and preached a message of repentance. Everyone listened, from the lowliest to the king. They put on sackcloth and fasted and prayed for God’s compassion. They heard the message. They listened. They were saved. Jesus says he is bringing that message to our generation. But do we listen? Do we see?

We as Catholics have the best message of love, of understanding, of compassion that we could ever ask for, but we sometimes don’t listen. Or we don’t want to hear, so we cover our ears and hum so the words don’t come through. Or we let the noise of our lives drown out what we really should be listening to – our hearts. I think oftentimes that’s our biggest hurdle: We know what we should do, but don’t do it. We don’t take time for prayer but watch TV or go on the computer. We avoid a sad co-worker because we are not in the mood. We laugh at someone else’s expense. We gossip and criticize others as opposed to examining our own shortcomings.

We are so accustomed to being over-stimulated by the ready access to data and information that our technology gives us, that reflection and contemplation can easily be pushed to the margin of our existence. The need for constant novelty is a sign of an unsettled mind and heart.

If we neglect to ponder our life and its circumstances, we will be unlikely to discover the subtleties of God's activity in our souls.

Just as the generation that Jesus was referring to today in the gospel, we to want signs to verify our convictions. However, the signs that God sends may not be what we expect. Perhaps what we really need is the capacity to ponder our life in the presence of God - to pray - in order to discover how the Lord wants to lead us.

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