This is so inspiring and makes us realize how important prayer is in our lives! It is the distinguishing mark of a person striving for holiness!
The Spirit Of Prayer
- In promising the Messiah to the Jewish people, God describes his mission with these words, ”I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace, and of prayers.”
- Yet before the advent of Jesus Christ people prayed, and God bestowed His grace, without which the just would have been unable to attain holiness. But this grace of prayer was not eagerly sought after or appreciated.
- The coming of Jesus was like a dew of grace falling over all the earth and spreading everywhere the spirit of prayer.
- Prayer is this distinguishing characteristic of the Catholic religion; it is the sign of a soul’s holiness; indeed, it is its holiness. It both makes holy and is the first evidence of holiness.
- When you see someone living a life of prayer, you may say: “There goes a saint!”
- St. Paul, having heard the call of God, immediately began to pray. And what did he do for three days at Damascus? He prayed.
- And when the priest Ananias, in spite of the Divine command, hesitated to go to this persecutor of the Christians to baptize him, the Lord said to him: “Go, you will find him praying.”
- That is, he is already a saint, for he prays. The Lord did not say: “He is mortifying himself, he is fasting,” but, “he is praying.”
- Every soul that prays will attain to holiness.
- Prayer is a light, a power; it is the action of God himself.
- When we pray, we make use of the power of God.
- You will never see any one become a saint who does not pray.
- Do not be deceived by beautiful sentiments and by appearances.
- The devil can do wonders, too; he has great learning; he can assume the appearance of an angel of light. Do not rely on knowledge; it does not lead to holiness. Mere knowledge of the truth is powerless to sanctify.
- There must be love, too. Between holiness and the perception of the truth a wide gulf yawns. How many a great genius has incurred the loss of his soul! I will go further and say that the good works of zeal and charity do not sanctify by themselves.
- God did not make them the distinguishing mark of holiness.
- The Pharisees observed the law, gave alms, and consecrated tithes to the Lord. Yet the Savior called them “whited sepulchers.”
- We learn from the gospel that prudence, temperance, and devotion may be joined with an evil conscience; witness the Pharisees, who labored with zeal but whose works were devoid of the spirit of prayer.
- Outward works, then, do not make a soul holy; nor does penance or mortification.
- How much pride and hypocrisy may be hidden beneath shabby attire and a countenance emaciated by privation.
- But when a soul lives by prayer, O, there is no mistaking that sign!
- A person prays; consequently he has every virtue, is holy.
- What is prayer but holiness in action? All the virtues find exercise in it.
- Humility makes us acknowledge to God that we have nothing, can do nothing; it makes us confess our sins and, lifting our eyes to God, proclaim that He alone is holy and good.
- Prayer also gives exercise to faith, hope, and charity. Indeed, we make practice, in prayer, of every evangelical and moral virtue.
- When we pray, we do penance, practice self mortification; we control our imagination, confine our will, enchain our heart, humble our pride.
- Prayer is therefore holiness itself since it includes the exercise of all the virtues.
- Some say prayer is nothing but laziness! Very well. Take those who work hardest and always use their energies most eagerly; they will find it much more difficult to pray than they did to devote themselves, sacrifice themselves to religious works.
- Ah, the fact is that it is sweeter, more consoling to nature, and easier to give to God than to ask of Him!
- Yes, prayer is, in itself alone, the practice of all the virtues. Without it nothing would be worth while or lasting.
- Charity itself withers away like a plant without roots unless it be invigorated and made fruitful by prayer.
- What then? Prayer, in God’s plan, is nothing else but grace. Have you noticed that your most violent temptations are against prayer?
- The devil has so much fear of prayer that he would let us do any number of good works if he can only keep us from praying, or render our prayers ineffective.
- For this reason we must be on our guard incessantly, must foster the spirit of prayer within us all the time, and make prayer our first duty.
- The Gospel does not say we should prefer our neighbors salvation to our own; quite on the contrary: “For what doth it profit a man, if the gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?”
- The first law is to save oneself, and this can be accomplished only by means of prayer. Alas, we violate this law every day!
- We willingly neglect ourselves for others, devoting ourselves to works of charity.
- For charity is truly easy and consoling; it exults and honors us.
- But we fly from prayer because we are slothful; we cannot bear to apply ourselves to a practice so humiliating to nature, because it raises no chorus of approbation in the outer world.
- Just as the natural life depends on nourishment, so the supernatural life is absolutely dependent on prayer.
- Though you should be obliged to give up everything else, penance, religious labors, even Communion, never give up prayer!
- It belongs to every state in life and sanctifies them all.
- “What!” you ask. “Give up Communion, in which we receive Jesus Himself, rather than give up prayer?”
- Yes, for if you do not pray, the sacrament in which Jesus comes to you will not diffuse its divine remedy within your soul.
- Without prayer we are powerless to do any great thing for Jesus.
- Prayer invests us with His virtues; and if we do not pray, neither the saints nor God Himself will bring us forward on the road to sanctity.
- So truly is prayer the condition of holiness that when God intends to ennoble a soul, He increases not its virtues but its spirit of prayer, that is to say, its sum total of power.
- He draws it nearer to Himself, and that is the whole secret of sanctity.
- Your own experience will bear this out. Always when you have felt transported to God, you have had recourse to prayer and retreat before hand.
- And the saints, knowing the importance of prayer, loved it above all things. They always longed for the moment when they would be free to pray; they were drawn to prayer as iron is to a magnet.
- Consequently, prayer was their recompense, and in heaven they praise still.
- Ah, yes! The saints prayed all the time and everywhere! It was this grace that led them to holiness; it is the grace of all who desire to follow in their footsteps.
- What is more, they knew how to move everything around them to prayer.
- Hear David, who gives to all creatures, even the inanimate ones, a song of love for God: “ Bless the Lord, all his works!”
- That is to say, all creatures praise God if we know how to be their voice; we must praise God through them.
- With this divine breath of prayer we can animate all nature and join with all created things in a glorious chorus of praise to God.
- Then let us pray, let us love prayer, let us increase day by day the spirit of prayer within us.
- If you do not pray, you will be lost; if God abandons you, it will be only because you do not pray. You are like a hapless wretch about to drown who refuses the rope cast out to snatch him from death.
- What can be done then? He is lost!
- O, again I beg you, though you should abandon all else, never abandon prayer! However far you may stray from God, prayer will lead you back, prayer, and prayer alone!
- If you devote yourself to prayer in the Christian life, it will guide you to holiness and happiness in this world and in the next.
“As a family, try to lead a hidden life with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Through holy Mass, offer yourselves through Mary’s hands as a sacrifice with Jesus; at Holy Communion, you will be changed into Jesus by divine grace so that you may live His life; by your visits to the tabernacle, you will enjoy His friendship in the midst of the many problems of life.” -Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook
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Thank you That was beautiful! If you say a prayer for me, I will say one for you too! 🙂
You got it Mary Ann! You will be remembered in my rosary tonight!
Thank you for this beautiful reflection. Bless the Lord, all His works.
Rhea Wilson said: