Thursday, June 19, 2014

It is simply impossible to lead, without the aid of prayer, a virtuous life.

Prayer -A soul arms itself by prayer for all kinds of combat. In whatever state the soul may be, it ought to pray. A soul which is pure and beautiful must pray, or else it will lose its beauty; a soul which is striving after this purity must pray, or else it will never attain it; a soul which is newly converted must pray, or else it will fall again; a sinful soul, plunged in sins, must pray so that it might rise again. There is no soul which is not bound to pray, for every single grace comes to the soul through prayer. --St. Faustina

Gospel Text: (MT 6:7-15)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray:
‘Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.’

“If you forgive others their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

In Matthew’s gospel today, Jesus urges us to de-clutter our prayer lives by offering a simple, quiet, and honest prayer void of ostentation. He leaves us with such a simple and effective way to approach the Divine: God, You are holy; help us do Your will; nourish us, protect us, forgive us, help us forgive others. Jesus teaches us to pray for the basic nourishment for our spiritual journey.

In a culture of excess, it is not easy to be satisfied with the basics or even recognize what the basics are. The human compulsion to complicate things has certainly permeated our spiritual culture, too. We look for spiritual satisfaction in some dubious places – money, work, self-help books, medication, consumption, etc. – hoping to find the cure for our spiritual anguish. We’re looking for the “magic bullet” to make us whole again – and we “think” we can have it, for the right price!

Today’s gospel reminds me that our spiritual fulfillment depends on our relationship to the Divine alone. This does not need to be complicated! My spiritual life can flourish by working every day at the spiritual basics like trust in God, thanksgiving, forgiveness, and love. We do this by developing a reliance on the sacraments (Eucharist & Reconciliation) and daily prayer.

Speaking of prayer as a father-child affair requires of us to keep in mind that prayer is an activity that flows out of a relationship. We do not learn how to pray better, we become better women and men of prayer when our relationship with God becomes more intimate like that of father and child. If you want to improve your prayer, focus on improving your personal relationship with God, our Father.

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