Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Virtues are formed by prayer

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

Gospel Text: (LK 11:1-4)
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name,
your Kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”

“The Lord’s Prayer — what can I say about that?”

A prayer from youth to now — taken for granted and recited ritualistically. Given my over-caffeinated, over-tasked and under reflective recent working environment my reaction was a sign and symptom — of the lack of understanding and depth of Jesus’ gift in this prayer.

The prayer begins with the word Abba — something translated into colloquial English today as “Daddy.” Not a formal petition of praise or petition but an intimate request for an encounter with our loving God. In our busy world, where God’s presence and movements are denied or obscured, this prayer gives us a way to engage our Father. Jesus gives us this gift of prayer to help overcome our self-absorption and reflect on matters we often neglect: our own forgiveness that we receive in the Sacrament of Reconciliation from our loving Father and the expectation for us to forgive.

This is not a prayer of petition for our ill-conceived desires, but a reminder to understand what is really going on and what will prevail in our world. We can be comforted by the grace that God is working at in all of creation and in and through those of us who are his servants.

This prayer is a celebration not of what we want from God but of what the Father does for us. It is a celebration of what God the Father is consistently and continually doing in the world and in our personal lives. Jesus does not direct us to pray for what we wish he would start doing but asks us to recognize “your Kingdom come” is here and now. In faith we accept his gifts of what we most urgently need and setting aside our insecurities, fear, uncertainties and trials we delight in his most perfect love for us.

Jesus has opened the way to heaven by his death and resurrection and has given us salvation - if we choose to receive it from him. Let us pray with joy and confidence to Abba — our Father!

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