||[May. 21st, 2013|08:57 am]
From my Facebook:
Humility in prayer means many things, and one of them is the realization that your prayer will never be enough. What do I mean by this? I mean that as fallen creatures, as wounded images of God, our prayers, by themselves, will always be imperfect, always fall short of pleasing God.
Now does this mean that one should stop praying, or pray only with a sense of dread that God may reject you? Of course not! Sincere prayer is always good and one must always pray with confidence that God hears everything we tell Him, and that He always wants to give us what is best for us.
But how can this be if our prayer is always imperfect? Then one must remember to pray in union with the one whose prayer IS perfect and is ALWAYS pleasing to God, and that is the prayer of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. When we pray the Eucharist, we are directly taking part in Christ's perfect prayer.
But sometimes it is not easy to pray as Jesus prays. We cannot always attend Mass. We can be distracted at prayer. Concupiscence-- the tendency towards sin-- may even make us pray that OUR will be done and not God's, sometimes without us even realizing it.
And that is where the value of communal prayer comes in. Liturgy simply means praying in common with all who unite themselves with Jesus when they speak to the Father. Praying by yourself is good. Praying in a group is better. Praying in union with the Churches Triumphant, Suffering, and Militant? That is best of all.
One of the greatest tragedies that the world's history of the past few centuries has wrought is the development of a theology that puts the soul in perfect isolation before the face of God. It is a philosophy that does away with mediation and the merits of praying for or with others. It gives rise to two seemingly contradictory follies that really have the same root. The first is the sin of presumption-- the idea that since one has a direct link to God in prayer, one is privy to His thoughts and counsels, one is immune from sin and assured of Heaven. The second is the sin of despair-- the idea that since one's prayers can never be enough for God, He only sees one's sins and flaws, He can never hear us, sin is insurmountable, and Heaven is impossible. But it is not good for man to be alone.
For Jesus did not leave us orphans. First of all, he left us his Spirit, which is present wherever one or two are gathered in his name. Second, he gave us his angels, true servants from the beginning, with wills and intellects perfectly aligned to the Trinity's, always with us, always watching, always guiding. Finally, he gave to us his saints who, though human, have conquered their sinfulness through Christ, and are now perfectly united in Christ, always with him, always praying, always offering.
The greatest of these, angels and saints, is the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. If Jesus' prayer is the most perfectly pleasing to God, then Mary's prayer is the most perfectly united to that of Jesus'. For she was there in the Incarnation, she was there in the Passion, she was there in the Resurrection. She is here with us now, transforming our prayer if we let her, making it like hers, and commending it to Jesus in that special loving voice of a mother that only a son can hear.
May is the month of Mary. I haven't had much opportunity to sing her praises as I might have wished. There was a lot going on. But know that through it all, I did not break, I did not cry, I did not lose my temper, I did not give in to temptation, and I solely credit it all to the Rosary, that peculiar and powerful devotion to Mary. If there is one thing to take away from all this I say, it is this: pray the Rosary. I cannot recommend it enough. It is a lifeline to Heaven. It is a chain the binds sin and the Devil. It is holding Mary's hand as a little child. It is a sword that proclaims the Gospel and a shield that defends virtue.
Pray the Rosary. Pray the Rosary. Pray the Rosary.