Tuesday, March 15, 2011


There are folks who insist that Catholics who pray the Rosary are not praying properly as we are therefore in violation of Jesus’ words in today’s (Tues of 1st Week of Lent) Gospel (Matt 6:7:15)—“When you pray, do not babble like the hypocrites…”

In that Gospel excerpt, Jesus then offers what many regard as the perfect prayer (some, the only prayer): the Lord’s Prayer. It truly does have everything: it is a prayer that asks for our transformation so that we can be people who overcome evil with good, who forgive others and experience forgiveness themselves, who have the strength to do what needs to be done today for the building of the Kingdom and who long for its completion, and to live lives such that God’s name be kept holy. What more could anyone wish to be?

Yet prayer has other purposes as well, beyond asking: it is a way of entering into communion with the Holy Trinity, a communion of life and love. Can this be done in ways beyond the Lord’s Prayer? No doubt it can.

Prayer of contemplation (simply enjoying being in the Presence) is one such way. Entering into Sacred Scripture (especially on the Ignatian model of placing oneself in the various scenes/episodes of the life of Christ) is another powerful way. And “mantric” prayers like the Rosary (or the Jesus Prayer) are yet another way: they become the underlying music that allows our souls to sing. They are emphatically not babbling many words in order to be heard. They are instead vehicles by which our hearts and minds are lifted up to God in order to be present, attentive, thankful, in love.

How do you pray? What’s the best format for you to come closer to God? In what ways do you find spiritual surrender easiest and most effective? This is what is important in our walk with the Lord. Pray as you can: and when you think you can’t, let the Holy Spirit take over for you (Rom 8:26-27). 

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