THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA
Ordinary Time - Year C
Today’s readings speak about prayer and perseverance
Prayer is an essential part of our relationship with God
Just like you cannot have a relationship with someone you’ve never really communicated with
We cannot have a relationship with God unless we pray
However, prayer is a very difficult thing to understand
Sometimes it seems as vast as the sea and it is..
There are so many forms of prayer
There are so many opportunities for prayer
Some people move in and out of prayer all day
Some people live in an almost constant state of prayer
We can pray when we just sit quietly and place ourselves in the presence of God
It can be a prayer when we cry out in anguish
We are praying when we sing for joy
Sometimes we pray when we see a beautiful sunset
A person can be moved to prayer when they hold their child for the first time.
We are praying when we slowly meditate on the Word of God and relate it to our lives
We pray when we place before God our needs and our petitions
We pray when quietly pass the beads through our fingers meditating on the mysteries of the life of Christ
The ultimate prayer is the Eucharist in which we relive in a mysterious way the saving love of Christ
Prayer is anytime we realize that God is real and anytime we place ourselves in the presence of God
Make no mistake about it
Just like a Father and a mother love to hear from their children
All prayer is pleasing to God
God hears all prayers.
No matter when or where or how they are prayed
But prayer and our relationship with God
Like any relationship demands persistence.
And that is the point that Jesus is making today
The widow was persistent
She didn’t give up
And just like a child learns to talk through perseverance and persistence
So we learn how to pray though perseverance and persistence
In the beginning a child barely can put two words together
Phrases like me cup turn in to me cup please and eventually
May I have the cup please?
Isn’t it the same way with prayer
So often our first prayers are like a child’s first words
I need this
I want this
Why can’t I have that he has it
I would love this…
So often our prayer is simply “me cup” (all over again)
Sadly many of us, so many, Never get beyond this type of prayer
Certainly it is valid to place our needs before God and ask him for things…
The scriptures say
“Ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find knock and the door will be open”
But how many of us spend our whole lives in prayer only asking for things...
We fall into the temptation of seeing God as some giant slot machine in the sky
Where if we pull the handle enough times you get what you will want
It is easy to see how people who understand prayer only in this vein could despair lose hope or just simply give up on God
To be honest as I look back I’m grateful I haven’t gotten everything I’ve prayed for...
There are also those who lose hope or give up on God
Because they don’t feel anything when they pray.
You see sometimes God grants a moment of consolation when we
And because we experience that once on a retreat or after a good confession
or during a special homily
or at a Mass
We convince ourselves that if God loves us or if we are praying correctly
We should feel that consolation every time we pray
Almost as if we have a right to it as
if it is how we deserve to be paid back
Give me my fix of consolation or you don’t really love me
Manytimes we give up on prayer because we don’t feel that God is paying us back
with that warm feeling that moment of clearness
Sometimes people give up on prayer because they think they are doing it wrong.
When we pray and
When there is only silence
We should thank him for trusting us enough to put us to the test
We should thank God for allowing us love him without getting anything back in return
Mother Theresa lived and loved and prayed for 40 years without consolation or the feeling of God’s presence
And sometimes in her letters she complained about it understandably so.
There are those who say this made her a fake and a fraud
Just going through the motions
I believe that the silence she experienced in her life
Only increased her ability to die to herself and love God and the poorest of the poor more and more and more.
I think her task was so great that God needed to put her to the test so that she could be faithful
Prayer is not always rewarding
Sometimes the silence is so deafening
St. Theresa of Avila once said in her prayers to God
If this is the way you treat your friends, it's no wonder you have so few!”
Our prayer should begin to change
After a while we should be able to enter into a deeper relationship with God
A relationship not just based on our needs and our wants and our incredibly small perspective.
After a while instead of only asking for things
we should begin to ask for direction and the ability to discern God’s will in our lives
After a while as we should trust in the presence of God more and more
our prayers should move us to a place where we simply trust the love
God more and more and more
A place where we are moved to praise him and thank him
and even worship him
An old Priest I knew towards the end of his life said to me once…
I have been a failure at prayer.
I always asked for things my way
I always thought I knew what I needed and when I needed it
What the church needed and when we needed it
He really felt that he was a failure and maybe he was
But God did not allow him to die a failure
Only as he faced eternity was he able to begin to let go and turn his life over to God
He scared me because he was once of holiest priests I knew
he seemed to pray almost constantly
If God loves us
If God longs for us to have life and have it to the full
If God longs for us to love each other and care for each other
We must allow ourselves to get lost in his loving presence
We must be persistent in our prayer
Like the widow was persistent in hers
Following the widows example
Progress in prayer demands a strong faith and
Even stronger love
Can we love enough to pray?
Do we love enough to prayer
Can we love enough to pray without loo
God longs for our prayers
God longs for our love