Friday, January 9, 2015

Prayer and the Christian life are inseparable - If we do not breathe we die; if we do not pray, we die spiritually.

In a world where there is so much noise, so much bewilderment, there is a need for silent adoration of Jesus concealed in the Host. Be assiduous in the prayer of adoration and teach it to the faithful. It is a source of comfort and light, particularly to those who are suffering. - Pope Benedict XVI (from his meeting with members of the Roman clergy March 2, 2006)

Gospel Text: (LK 5:12-16)
It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was;
and when he saw Jesus,
he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said,
“Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”
Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
And the leprosy left him immediately.
Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but
“Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing
what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”
The report about him spread all the more,
and great crowds assembled to listen to him
and to be cured of their ailments,
but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.

When word spread that Jesus had healed a man with leprosy, and the crowds swarmed him, he withdrew “to deserted places to pray” (Luke 5:16). Prayer—intimate, refreshing, reassuring prayer—was the foundation to all he did. It enabled him to know when to minister and when to withdraw, when to rebuke and when to comfort. Prayer renewed Jesus’ strength, soothed and refreshed his spirit, and imbued his heart with confidence. Above all, it kept him in touch with his Father’s unshakable love.

Here is what is so encouraging about Christianity: the close, personal, life-giving prayer that Jesus experienced is possible for all of us!

Prayer is meant to be as easy as speaking to our best friend. Whenever we speak to God, he is ready to respond to us. Perhaps a line from Scripture will come to mind, or we will see a recent situation in a new light or feel a sense of peace in the silence of our hearts.

Finding room and time for prayer in our busy lives requires a yearning within us to meet God with the unshakable conviction that nobody and nothing can replace him. Without this longing to communicate with God, our prayer easily drifts into a soliloquy, a tool we use just to try to solve nagging problems. We are also easily distracted during prayer, our hearts and minds invaded by all kind of thoughts and feelings. Praying is not like chatting but rather a simple elated encounter with Love. It is our ongoing relationship with God: the silent communication between me, the poor one who needs everything, and “You”, the transcendent provider of all. The constant reward of true prayer lies in our sure knowledge that our Creator loves us.

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