Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pray Always

We often turn to God in prayer during times of illness, family trouble, or when something in our life goes wrong.  Do we turn daily to God when everything is going well?  In the monastery prayer is part of the entire day.  All monks have work to do, but whether they are in the field, or on the computer, or in the work shop, when the bell rings they stop and come into the chapel and pray.  Most of their prayers are based on the psalms, and over a three week time they will have sung/chanted all the psalms.  There is also a gospel reading, sometimes a homily, but also prayer.
               We perhaps are not quite as willing or able, depending on our jobs, to stop everything and pray.  And yet, we seem to have time to get a cup of coffee or a drink of water while we are at work.  The time spent on the way to the coffee machine or water cooler would be enough to say a Hail Mary or The Lord's Prayer.   We must wonder if we were given ten fingers so we could pray the rosary in the car or on a walk.
               Prayer doesn't have to consist of written prayers, or those we have memorized as a child.  Prayer, after all, is talking to God as though He were present (which He is), or as though He were our friend (which He is), and as though He loved us (which He does).  Prayer should come from the heart, sharing our small victories and being sorry for our failures.  God is everywhere; He knows our thoughts, so we might wonder why we should bother to tell Him anything.  Just as a loving relationship lacks intimacy if the words "I love you" aren't said but only assumed, our relationship with God remains flat, ungrowing, if we don't communicate with Him.
               The catechism says, "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God."  Saint Therese of Lisieux described prayer as "a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven; it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy."  We are asked to pray always. When asked how he prayed, Thomas Merton said, "I breathe."
               A favorite, yet very simple prayer, is "Good Morning God".
 You are ushering in another day/untouched and freshly new/ and so I come to ask You God/ if you'll renew me too./  Forget the many errors/ that I made yesterday,/ and let me try again, dear God/ to walk closer in the way..../But, Father, I am well aware/I can't make it on my own,/so take my hand and hold it tight/for I can't walk alone." kvs

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