A Note from our Pastor
When you pray…Part II
On Ash Wednesday, we heard Jesus calling us to pray during these days of Lent. He said, “when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” Although it is obvious, we must not ignore another simple yet beautiful reason why we pray. We pray because God invites us.
Many people recognize this call, from Oprah Winfrey to Vice President Mike Pence. Some people respect that call; they recognize that when we pray we walk on holy ground, like Moses before the burning bush. Other people ridicule the call; they accuse people who pray of talking to imaginary beings. It could happen. This is why in our prayer, we have to fight to make sure we are actually talking to God and not ourselves or our imaginations.
As Catholics, we do that by making sure we don’t ignore what God has already said to us through Scripture, Tradition, and God’s teaching us through his Church. For example, we can always start with the Ten Commandments, those beautiful instructions on how to love God and our neighbor. You might say, “But God spoke those to Moses, not to me.” I would answer, “God spoke to you through Moses.” Take God at his word; don’t make him work so hard by working new and unnecessary wonders.
And if you hear a voice that says, “Well, you’ve evolved. You don’t really need those old commandments”—I will tell you quite clearly that is not the voice of God. Jesus said, “I came to fulfill the law, not abolish it.” Instead, try to live those commandments in your daily life and you will embark on an adventure that is both amazing and difficult. If you are open to it, you will explore new territory that will take you all the way to heaven. God is waiting for you to talk to him about it. God is inviting you to pray.
There is that reason to pray again: it is an invitation from God. It is so obvious that we might pass by its beauty. Let it sink in for a moment: The God of the universe is inviting you to talk to him. The God who made you and keeps you alive at this very moment wants to talk to you. The God who died on the cross because he loves you so much wants to begin a mutual conversation, a real going back and forth where heart speaks to heart. When you hear Jesus say, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find” you are discovering an invitation from God himself to you. Countless people waste centuries of time talking about God—you can actually talk to him. And it truly is as simple as that; in the words of St. Teresa of Avila, “To pray is nothing more than to converse with one whom we know is our friend.”
When will you meet this greatest of friends each day? Where will you meet him? Yes, you can talk to him anytime and anywhere; in order to make sure that happens, we make plans for specific times and specific places. Maybe you will get up early, before anyone else in the house, to imitate the secret conversation of Jesus with his Father.
Maybe you stay up late, after everyone else, imitating the deep prayer of Jesus in the Garden, making up for the sins of the whole world. Maybe you will lock yourself in the bathroom for ten minutes and read quietly without anyone knowing. Maybe you will take out your rosary while the clothes dry or the oven heats. Maybe you will sit in the car for five minutes, leaving work behind and preparing to meet your family once again. I love to pray in church, before our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament. I have also prayed a whole Rosary around Sox park when it was my turn to get the beers. One of the quietest moments of prayer for me happened when I did my
Evening Prayer under the full moon on Fifth Avenue bench in Midtown Manhattan; no one saw me but God. I am not offering myself as an example. My point is that whenever and wherever you pray, you will find our Lord already there—waiting to talk to you. Let us pray for one another during these days of Lent, that we will hear this invitation from God.
With my prayers,
P.S. We have work in the church from March 5 to March 9. It is time to fix those saggy pews. We are also getting tile for the sanctuary. Daily Mass will be in the chapel and we should be finished for Stations of the Cross at 2:30pm on Friday. Your patience is appreciated as we repair and beautify the house of the Lord.