Staying the Course When Praying
In the Book of Wisdom (1:13-15; 2:23-24), we see the great plan that God had in His mind for humanity; creating us in His own image. Everything was good until the devil entered into the world and became the source of death because of his envy. Those who remain close to God continue to experience His goodness even in the midst of trials, but those who give in to the temptations of the devil become confused and unhappy. However, Jesus is the remedy for the mistakes we make.
We read in Second Corinthians (8:7, 9, 13-15), Paul encourages the Corinthians to excel in what he calls this gracious act. He is speaking of generosity. The gracious act of Our Lord was to humble himself and become human. Though he was in the form of God he became man. He did not live on this earth as a king in the ways of the world but made his home among the lowly. He was teaching us that what we have is not as important as who we are in relationship with God. Everything he did was to please his Father in heaven. And then out of generosity he allowed himself to be tortured and gave up his life so that we might be saved from our sins and receive life everlasting. When we are generous with what we have for the sake of others it becomes more possible for us to discover the generosity of God.
In the Gospel of Mark (5:21-43), we see two separate people approaching Jesus for a cure. They both believe he can perform a miracle and they make a great act of faith. Jesus is the generosity of God in human form, wanting to restore humanity to the perfection with which it was created. With one word he could have made all things new, but it was his desire and the will of the Father that each of us individually cooperates with the generous gifts he has given us. In baptism, we received the gifts of Faith, Hope, and Charity. As well as the gifts of the Holy Spirit and we became a new creation. Because he also gave us a free will that often puts us in conflict with his great plan for us, he established his Church and the sacraments so that we can be renewed in his love and his mercy. Of course, this renewal depends upon our faith, it is not automatic. In this country, we have become accustomed to efficiency. We expect things to happen at our convenience. God is not efficient. He does things in His own way and in His own time. We can become impatient with God. This is the reason some people look for answers by going to fortune-tellers or astrology among other things. God has forbidden these things because they undermine our relationship with Him.
Staying the Course When Praying
God answers all prayer that is for our good and the good of his kingdom. In most cases, he requires us to preserver in prayer which helps us to develop a trusting, personal relationship with him. Our prayer will be answered in one of three ways:
- It may be answered in the way and time we hoped.
- It may be answered later, maybe much later as in the case of St. Monica who prayed for many years for the conversion of her son Agustin.
- As we preserve in prayer and grow in our trust of God, we may come to understand that God is answering our prayer in a way we did not expect; it may cause a change in the direction of our life.
No Prayer is wasted
The way we pray can be a measurement of our faith. There is nothing we do during the day that is more important than the time we spend in prayer because this is how we allow God to influence the decisions we make. Without prayer, we become disconnected from God and lose hope. Pray the Lord’s Prayer slowly and concentrate on every word that Jesus teaches us in that prayer. Praying the name of Jesus with reverence over and over can bring that peace that only he can give.
Prayer is necessary in order to believe the mysteries of our faith as revealed through the Scriptures and the Church. If we do not spend significant time in prayer, it is not likely we will believe the mysteries that unite us with God in an intimate way. Praying with a humble, contrite heart opens up our mind to the things of God.
Next to our salvation, the greatest gift God has given humanity is the Holy Eucharist. Jesus loves us so much that he gives us himself under the appearance of bread and wine. It is not possible to have a greater intimacy with God than we when we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, and yet this gift only has an effect in us if we believe and are prepared. A recent statistic states that only about 30 % of Catholics believe that the Holy Eucharist is truly Jesus. Do you believe? If you have doubts, please humble yourself before God and pray with fervor for the faith to believe in this Holy Sacrament which is Jesus’ gift of himself for those who believe.
The hemorrhaging woman only wanted to touch Jesus’ cloak so that she could be healed. During this Mass, we have the possibility of touching and receiving the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ, the same Jesus Christ that healed that woman. To receive Holy Communion is life-changing because it requires that we be in communion with the Church that Jesus founded and to believe all that she teaches. It requires us to live a life close to God by frequently receiving him in the sacraments, especially confession so that Jesus can free us of sin and give us grace so that we can do what he asks us to do but can only do with his help.
What God created was good, and even though our human nature is fallen, and we are prone to sin God still has a great plan for us. In Christ and in His Church, He has given us everything we need to live close to Him and experience His generous love and mercy. He expects us to believe in what He has revealed to us through the Scriptures and the Church, to trust Him, and to share this Good News with others. Your personal story of how God touched your life may help someone else to become connected to God.
Deacon Tom Fox, K.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.
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