REFLECTION: Prayer’s new relevance PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 13:28

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

Prayer is always relevant. It’s as indispensable as breathing. Our spiritual life would be detached from its life-source, exposing itself to great dangers, when one stops to pray. But with today’s confusing developments, when we have to learn to blend truth with charity, justice with mercy, prayer becomes even more relevant and indispensable.

To be sure, this task of blending competing values properly is nothing new. This has been both our challenge and our duty since time immemorial. But the new developments today require us to be more skillful in it as we face more complicated issues and situations and more difficult questions that just cannot be ignored.

With the current papal thrust to have a Church of mercy and compassion, there definitely will be a more deliberate effort to review and sort out the current norms and practices in the Church to see if there are areas that can be improved, updated, purified of such tendencies as traditionalism, legalism, rigorism, etc.

Let’s remember that the Church, while divine and is therefore divinely guaranteed, is also human and as such is subject to the vicissitudes of our human condition. It will always be in need of growth and development, and along the way, continuing conversion and purification.

The task to review and sort out is going to be very delicate, and we have to expect a lot of discussion in this regard.

That’s why prayer is so much needed these days so that these discussions would be pursued always with the guidance of the Spirit who can spring surprises and tackle anything, and all within the truth of our faith, the confidence of our hope and the warmth of our charity.

When we pray, we follow the example of Christ who managed to go through his passion and death calmly and with the confidence that his passion and death was the way to go for the salvation of mankind.

Prayer makes us see things better. It inclines us to be more perceptive of the abiding promptings of the Holy Spirit who always traces the path we need to follow. At this point, we need to be strongly reminded that it is the Holy Spirit, more than us, no matter how bright and experienced we may be, who leads the way. We all have to go to him and refrain from getting too attached to our views and positions.

Prayer helps to calm down our emotions that can easily get agitated and that can blind us especially when sharp differences arise in the discussion. We have to be wary of our tendency to easily get inflamed by our passions that would just complicate matters.

Prayer helps us to be more prudent in our judgments. It facilitates our ability to listen to all sides, to study things thoroughly, to make consultations when necessary, and to make decisions. Prayer helps us to know when to stop and think, and when to move and execute things.

Prayer broadens our mind, nourishes our patience, and keeps us hopeful and optimistic despite unavoidable setbacks. It helps us how to properly take the biases, opinions, assumptions that we always carry with us when we enter into any discussion.

We need to see to it that we are truly praying, that is, conversing with God in a very intimate way and bringing up things that really matter to us. We should avoid just going through the motions of praying but really without getting in contact with God and taking up things that are not relevant, sort of just indulging in some abstract exercise. Alas, this is a common bane to those who claim they pray.

For this, we have to find the appropriate time and place, knowing how to distance ourselves from our usual activities so we can get into the proper mode of meditation and contemplation.

We have to have the right dispositions, sharpening our act of faith, our humility and docility. We have to be wary of the wiles of our flesh, the world and the devil that can nullify our efforts to pray.

Obviously, we also have to prepare the topics well. This is very crucial so that we avoid wasting time during our meditations. This preparation will put us in a better position to see the light that the Holy Spirit will be shedding on us.

But it’s also important that we make a conscious effort to appeal to the Holy Spirit to enlighten us. This should not be taken for granted. This conscious effort will make us more perceptive of his promptings.