+ A CALL TO PRAYER– 20 Feb. 2023
We are soon to enter into the Lenten season and the final words of our gospel are a great way of doing this: “This kind of spirit can only come out through prayer.”
As many of us heard at Vigils this morning about the Presence of God, we are in continual need of grace in each of our lives if we are going to avoid sin and accomplish all that God wants us to do. Prayer is all about recognizing this continual need of God’s help.
Earlier in our gospel Jesus tells the father of the son with an unclean spirit that everything is possible to one who has faith. We think of ourselves as having faith and we do up to a point but Jesus tells us that everything is possible if we have an abiding faith so let us grow ever more aware of our need for this gift of God with which all things are possible.
An Excerpt from The Practice of the Presence of God 2
by Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
…A soul depends on grace in proportion to its desire for greater perfection.
God’s help is necessary at every moment because without it the soul can do nothing.
The world, nature, and the devil together wage war so fiercely and so relentlessly
that, without this special help and this humble, necessary dependence, they would
carry off the soul against its will…
The holiest, most ordinary, and most necessary practice of the spiritual life is
that of the presence of God. It is to take delight in and become accustomed to his
divine company, speaking humbly and conversing lovingly with him all the time, at
every moment, without rule or measure, especially in times of temptation, suffering,
aridity, weariness, even infidelity and sin.
We must continually apply ourselves so that all our actions, without
exception, become a kind of brief conversation with God, not in a contrived manner
but coming from the purity and simplicity of our hearts…
During our work and other activities, even during our reading and writing, no
matter how spiritual – and, I emphasize, even during our religious exercises and
vocal prayers – we must stop for a moment, as often as possible, to adore God in the
depths of our hearts, to savor him, even though in passing and stealthily. Since you
are aware that God is present to you during your actions, that he is in the depths
and center of your heart, stop your activities and even your vocal prayers, at least
from time to time, to adore him within, to praise him, to ask his help, to offer him
your heart, and to thank him. Nothing is more pleasing to God than to turn away
from all creatures many times throughout the day to withdraw and adore him
present within. Moreover, this turning inward imperceptibly destroys self-love
found only among creatures. In the end, we can offer God no greater evidence of
our fidelity than by frequently renouncing and scorning creatures in order to enjoy
their Creator for a moment. I do not mean by this that you must withdraw forever
from your duties, for that would be impossible; prudence, the mother of all virtues,
must be your guide…
All these adorations must be made by faith, believing that God is truly in our
hearts, that we must adore, love, and serve him in spirit and in truth, that he sees
everything that happens and will happen in us and in all creatures; that he is
independent of everything and the one on whom all creatures depend, infinite in
every kind of perfection. He is the one who, by virtue of his infinite excellence and
sovereign domain, deserves all that we are as well as everything in heaven and on
earth, of which he can dispose as he wishes in time and in eternity. All our
thoughts, words and actions belong by right to him… We must have recourse to God
with complete confidence at the moment of combat, remain firm in the presence of
his divine majesty, adore him humbly, bring him our miseries and weaknesses, and
lovingly ask him for the help of his grace. In this way we will find every virtue in
him without our having any of our own.
2 Br Lawrence of the Resurrection. The Practice of the Presence of God. Trans. Salvatore Sciurba, OCD.
Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 1994. 35-37