Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lent 1 ~ Good Works ~ Prayer

     Lent is a beautiful time of growing closer to Christ by giving of ourselves through the good works of prayer, fasting and alms giving. In these ways, we aspire to imitate Our Blessed Lord in the way that he gave Himself, without reservation,  to all of us.
       Prayer is lifting our hearts and souls to God. This Heavenward act of love, characterized by its simplicity and beauty, can be expressed vocally or mentally. Spontaneous or recited, sung or signed, our offerings of praise, thanksgiving, petition, contrition are essential in our growing relationship with our Creator. True holy reverent prayer is accomplished only with the divine help of the Holy Spirit. And let us never underestimate the assistance of our Guardian Angel. Our Catholic Catechism is filled with a treasury of lessons about prayer. The writings of many Holy men and women of God teach us that the inevitable multitude of tangible and intangible distractions to prayer, present an overarching struggle which can only be counterbalanced by supernatural grace. This grace, which strengthens holy perseverance, comes from Our Almighty Father, and is delivered to us by the Blessed Virgin Mary. The intercession of Mary, and all of the Saints and Angels make it possible for us to successfully overcome every obstacle to remaining in union with Christ through prayer. God commands us to pray for one another, even if we are "enemies". Prayer is so powerful, yet so easily overlooked amid daily activities. It is true that "prayer changes things", especially the heart of the person praying. 
     The time we spend praying would be spent engaged in some other activity. So, in order to pray we must "give up" something we would otherwise be doing. Prayer involves us in a subtle act of sacrifice, the supernatural results of which are uniquely perceived by the soul.
   There are many opportunities for simple, quiet prayer during any busy day. Morning prayers and Scripture reading set a lovely tranquil pace for the remainder of the day. Jesus used to get away from the frenzy of activity that so often surrounded Him so as to spend time in solitude with His Father. Jesus listened To God. He listened to hear God's will. He was always disposed to obey, even when it required suffering. Healing, miracles, love and compassion flowed from Him without limits.
   I once read a sign that said "A day hemmed in prayer is less likely to unravel." I believe that a Lent woven in prayer embroiders our hearts ever more securely within the Heart of Jesus.