Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
These past two weeks have emphasized the necessity of constant prayer in our lives. We do not come to the Lord only when we need something but rather we keep open and regular conversation with Him from the moment of our awakening until we close our eyes in sleep. Throughout the course of the day there are innumerable moments when we really need to turn to the Lord with simple requests: ” Please advise me Lord; Lord give me strength in knowing how to treat this particular person in charity; Lord is it Your will or mine at stake here?: Lord have mercy; Lord, slow me down.” These are just a few of the ways we allow God to direct our lives in His peace. It surely does not mean we will not have challenges. They are a part of life. But we never have to face those challenges alone.
St. Paul, in today’s lesson, while waiting to be executed for Christ, catches himself. First he is feeling abandoned by his colleagues and then he comes to realize Christ is there beside him in his agony. Perhaps too often we are looking for solace from human beings when in prayer we need to re-orient ourselves to the abiding presence of the Lord. That is the beginning of humility which we see so well expressed in the publican’s prayer in the temple. The Pharisee is saying:” You owe me, God”. The publican is saying: “I owe You.” Is that not what our life should be? an I owe you to God. When we consider the blessings, the gifts, the mercy that has been showered on us, how can we not in prayerful gratitude return adoration, respect, obedience and above all love to God. This is the mark of humility. This is the prayer that “pierces the heavens”.