Sometimes we just need to shut up and listen, and guess what? Jesus will speak to you. His voice often a tug on your heart whereby our prayers are answered. That’s right,.God answers prayer! The fact is, we, fallen mankind, sometimes we don’t like the answer He gives us. Every morning, I spend an hour before Jesus presence in the Tabernacle,.. A spiritual protein shake in order to start my day!
Prayer, the ‘life’ blood in any relationship with God. Yet how many people truly pray? Can we (myself included) honestly say that we pray enough? St Paul exhorts us to pray incessantly, and as Catholics, especially in light of the Second Vatican Council’s Universal Call to Holiness, that the Liturgy of the Hours are heavily favored for Clergy, (A promise) and for laity. We can sanctify our day, by offering it, Laudes, and Vespers especially, but as you relationship with God deepens, throwing in even None, Sext and Complines. (Night prayer). Prayer, properly defined is an elevation of the Intellect and will to God. We can praise God, thank Him for our lives, we can petition God for the things we need and we can just meditate, sometimes sitting of front of The Blessed Sacrament, Jesus truly present in the Eucharist. Still another form of prayer? Lectio Divina! A continuous reading of Scripture, especially the Gospels and using the ‘Olier method.’ We enter and see Jesus,..we place ourselves among His disciples, we hear Him when He speaks, and can sometimes even smell the environment. The next contemplation, Jesus in our hearts…Surely Scripture is alive and tell us something different every time we read it. Finally Jesus in our bodies,..a preparation for the Eucharist!
Why a post about prayer? Well, the answer may surprise you, then again, it might not. Recently social network has been awash with any and every criticism leveled at different aspects of Holy Mother Church. Now obviously everyone knows where I stand on abuses, but I think a serious reflection needs to take place and not just constantly upload pictures of various Masses everywhere. Not just disgruntled Catholics, but other groups (Orthodox?) showing the difference between the Eastern and Western Liturgies while using as an example for the west,..a Liturgy from the L.A. Religious conference that looks more like a Robert Schuller event, preceded by a Liturgical parade. Then you have the angry SSPXers uploading every ‘Novus’ Ordo Mass, carefully selected that doesn’t do the Mass justice. (Obviously they won’t show a reverent Ordinary Form Mass, EWTN style, or still something from St John Cantius,…noooo,..its an agenda, plain and simple.) Then you have the reactive groups, showing EF Form Masses without the prayers at the foot of the altar. Never have Mother Angelica’s words rung so clear! Stop preaching and start praying!
My friends, there is no such thing as a Traditional Catholic, Novus Ordo Catholic, Neo-Conservative Catholic, Progressive Catholic or otherwise. Our Faith is dogmatic and not a cafeteria, where you can pick a little of this and a little of that, you are either Catholic or you are not. Period. Statements such as ‘I’m pro social justice and pro-choice, but personally against abortion while attached to the Ambrosian Rite of Liturgy because all others are invalid’ reveals that the person uttering the statement is both intellectually as well morally schizophrenic. Perhaps I’m being harsh? My point is that Catholics need to band together and start praying, fasting and then we will bring about the full reception of Vatican II and not the silliness that we were fed growing up. So, that being said, this is a shout out to Michael Voris, Fr Larry Richards, EWTN, Fr Z, and all the SSPXers who have an open heart, (and mind). Our enemy the devil can easily sow pride in our hearts whereby we mistakenly believe that we will bring about change and that we will convert the world. Not so! The Holy Spirit will convert the hearts of people when the Holy Spirit is good and ready. We can look to Lent and perhaps offer in prayer those who persecute us, those who are our enemies and even those who in good faith, do things because they were formed in that fashion. That doesn’t mean we remain idle and do nothing, but we can reference 1st Peter and can give an account for the joy that is in us! (Paraphrase). We are a people of the Resurrection and Allelujia is our song! (Pope John Paul II)
This Lent, let us purify our prayer life and like the Christian martyrs be ready to be fed to the lions while singing hymns. We can eagerly await the next Vortex, or Fr Barron commentary, but we are followers of Jesus, not fans of a certain personality type. In the face of an abuse, recite 3 Hail Marys! In the face of heresy, pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet! In the face of all who persecute you, echo the words of Jesus from the Cross,..’Father forgive them for they know not what they do.’
God bless and I wish all a very holy and contemplative Lenten Season
St Pio de Pietrelcino,…………………………………………………………..ora pro nobis!