Friday, May 20, 2005
Teach us to pray  

I feel compelled to write something about prayer. I can say this much about prayer: I struggle with it every single day. There are many prayers that I enjoy, and I am very grateful for the Catholic Church and tradition which has given us so many beautiful prayers. My Protestant background did not provide me with any formal prayers other than the Our Father (Lord's Prayer). Consequently, before my journey to the Catholic Church, prayer was whatever I wanted it to be. That sounds very freeing, but the truth of the matter is that you end up saying a lot of the same things over and over. You meditate on the same concepts. And you maintain the same mental images.

The real problem is that left to our own devices, we do not have the necessary structure in which we can begin to pray. The formal prayers provide sound, theological means to communicate with our Lord that prepares our minds to enter into less formal prayer. Of course, the mass is the primary prayer of the Church and the members of the Church. With Sunday mass, we provide a framework for our entire week. It is the day of the Lord on which we may receive our Lord, opening our hearts to receive the grace He longs to pour into us. This grace will assist us throughout the week, if we cooperate with it.

This is where I struggle--in the mundane prayer of daily life. I often find myself frustrated that I forgot the Lord for such a long period of time during the day. In the middle of the time, I banged my head against the wall without remembering the Lord who desired to help me in my time of need. Or I forget to thank Him, and the moment to give the most appropriate expression of my gratefulness has passed. Instead, I allow myself to thank Him with a belated prayer similar to thanking someone a day after you should have expressed your appreciation.

I have learned one thing about prayer and that is you simply have to do it. When I miss my time of prayer or fail to catch up on it when I can grab some time, I miss out and I know the difference. I am wont to pray five decades of the Rosary every day. Preferably, I pray the Rosary in the morning. If I do not, I can assure that things will not go as well that day. I will have an even shorter temper and simply less energy. It is not magic. It is allowing the Lord to change me in such small and subtle ways that they are imperceptible in the short term and only recognized over a season of my life.

The Rosary is the means that God seems to use in my life. I really do like the Rosary very much. Not just because it is so very Catholic, but because it seems to be God's special gift to me through which He communicates His love. I did grow up learning Bible stories in Sunday School. And that same attractiveness of the familiar stories of Christ's life which are the mysteries of the Rosary feel comfortable. Finally, I must say I appreciate the Rosary because it is very Marian. I love our Lady even more because I did not "know" her for so many years of my life. Now that I can know her as my mother, I want to get to know her better. I, too, want to follow this path which leads to Christ through His mother. Yes, I want to live Totus Tuus.

Posted by David at 1:18 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 


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