REFLECTION: A very exciting thing PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 11:13

I’m referring to prayer. If it’s authentic prayer that we do, then we can only experience joy and excitement. That’s precisely because when we truly pray, we are talking with God. And can there be any other person more exciting to talk with than God himself? Can there be any other person who can give us what we really need?

Besides, if our prayer is genuine, we would be touching on the most important and relevant topics and issues in our conversation with God. Nothing else can outrank the subject matter of our prayer. Whatever riveting human projects and concerns we have would end up being part and parcel of our loving dialogue with God.

What is more, when we truly pray, we can always manage to see the meaning and beauty of everything. Even in our darkest moments or our worst scenario, we can always find the light at the end of the tunnel.

This is quite so especially when we realize the true spirit of Easter, that is, Christ conquering sin and removing the sting of death with his passion, death and resurrection, and sharing this Easter renewal with us if we want to. That’s why we can always say without exaggeration that there’s always hope for us in spite of whatever.

We need to examine the way we pray. Very often, what we call prayer is actually not prayer, but simply some kind of personal introspection, a sort of soliloquy, or otherwise, a mere play or expression of the emotional and psychological condition we find ourselves in a given moment.

We have to be most careful when we fall into this predicament that can come to us in a very subtle way, because sooner or later we will find ourselves confused if not lost, deceived and completely deprived of any benefit. We will find ourselves tricked and losing for good any interest in prayer.

Obviously, prayer can involve all these, but what makes real prayer distinctive is that it is driven by faith, hope and charity, and not just by human or natural factors or conditions.

Genuine prayer transcends our bodily and earthly settings. It is a spiritual and supernatural activity, first of all, before it expresses itself in our material and natural dimensions. It is fuelled by faith, hope and charity rather than by our mere sentiments and human understanding or estimation of things.

Our beautiful manifestations of popular piety where we pray with showy public expressions like making novenas, staging processions, kissing, dancing and waving at images would be hollow if this basic property of prayer as primarily a spiritual and supernatural activity would be missing.

If we pray as we should, then we allow God to come to us and to engage us in a true discussion of things. It would be God, more than us, showing us how things ought to be. In a way, prayer is actually an easy thing to do, precisely because of this.

When we complain that we find prayer boring or empty or something that would lead us to some sad, depressing or inconvenient episodes, it can only mean that we are not actually praying. We may just be talking with our own selves, and allowing our human conditions at a given moment to completely dominate and rule us.

Obviously, to pray as we should we have to do our part to purify ourselves of some conditions that would impede us to talk and listen to God, and to enter into a loving conversation with him.

This is where we have to feel the need for mortification, for self-denial or self-emptying as Christ himself underwent to be in synch with his Father’s will. In short, we cannot pray without mortification or sacrifice.

If our main motive for prayer is to seek relief of our problems and burdens but at the same time neglect to purify ourselves, then we most likely will end up not praying. We may go through the motions of praying, but that prayer will definitely be fruitless.

That prayer may produce some temporary relief, but unless rectified and purified, the relief will not last long and can even be dangerous to us, since it would not be God we would be dealing with, but something else, perhaps even an evil spirit that disguise itself as a good one.

Christ himself shows us how to pray. He fasted, he went to a secluded place, he spent the whole night praying. With the parable of the Pharisee and the publican in the temple, he tells us humility is essential to be able to pray.