By Fr. Thiago, sx –
Once, a catechist questioned her children about prayer: “Do you pray every evening?” she asked to a child named Jimmy. He answered: “Yes, of course!” The catechist then questioned him again: “Also in the morning?” Jimmy replied: “No!” Intrigued the catechist asked: “Why only in the evening?” “Because during the day – said the boy – I´m not afraid.” Like Jimmy, often, our fears, needs and troubles are the reasons which lead us to pray. In this Sunday´s Gospel, instead, Jesus tells us that prayer should shape our whole existence.
Prayer is a journey of relationship with the Lord, which is not confined to those moments that we spend in the church, but it should extend to our ordinary life. Such journeying with Jesus strengthens our faith in the Father, who is the deep desire of our heart and who always cares for us. This certainty is well expressed by the philosopher Kierkegaard in one of his prayers: “When we wake up in the morning and turn our soul toward You, o God, – You were there first – You have loved us first… When I withdraw from the distractions of the day and turn my soul toward You, You are there first and thus forever.”
To pray “always without becoming weary,” as the evangelist Luke says, doesn´t mean that we have to pray the rosary all the time or read the bible without interruption. Such path is a gift which comes from the Spirit, who keeps alive in our hearts the desire of being constantly united with the Lord. A pregnant woman, for example, does not have to think all the time of her baby to be pregnant, but she bears him within herself, she feels him, speaks with him, in synthesis: she is inundated by his presence. This is the result of a genuine prayer life: “for in God we live, move and have our being” (Act 17:28).
A good thermometer in order to find out if we are progressing in our relationship with the Lord (in our prayer life) is our capacity to go out from ourselves and to walk with our brothers and sisters, “raising our hands” for them and with them, making ours their smiles and tears and witnessing to them and with them the wonders of the Lord. Recently, Pope Francis said that: “we are an Apostolic Church (a Missionary Church) because we pray – first task – and because we proclaim the Gospel with our lives and with our words.” In this World Mission Sunday, these words of Pope Francis are not only beautiful, but compelling and committing.
From the writings of Saint Guido
Not only does prayer place us in an intimate relationship with all that is true, beautiful and holy in heaven and on earth, it also gives us a share in God’s friendship, in His most tender and infinite love.
(1913, 6 January, Parma)