Oct 16th Twenty-ninth Sunday if Ordinary Time

Introduction

“Pray continually..never lose heart”. We may not realize what a great glory prayer is. It heals the world, nourishes our inner life and unites us with God; lets confess any neglect of prayer.

Homily

I read once about an orthodox saint in Russia. He travelled all over Europe asking people how to pray all the time, even when asleep. Eventually an abbot in a monastery told him that if he went to bed at night praying, he’d carry that on through sleep. We may not pray all the time, but to pray well is best thing we can do. Our Lady speaking to visionaries, stresses prayer as the heart of Christian life. In Medugorje her message is: “Pray! Pray my little children”, for peace especially and that all humankind will come to God’s healing arms in Christ. This may be Satan’s age, with the holocaust etc, but prayer can defeat him and in a mysterious way transform our world into God’s paradise.

If we don’t believe private visions that say this, believe the Gospel. It tells us unequivocally that we should pray always and never lose faith in being heard. True, Sometimes particular petitions aren’t answered, God doesn’t work wonders to order, that would negate the normal functioning of the world. But he promises that prayer is always heard in some way if we ask in the right Spirit. But the real importance of prayer is that it builds our relationship with God. Sometimes, as in communion we don’t even need words for this. Prayer at its best is a heart to heart chat with God. St.Theresa of Avila tells us that silent prayer and meditation can brings us so close to God, he seems but a breath away. And that’s the aim of faith, to draw us ever closer to our Lord. For is not an ideology, its not knowledge and can’t really be taught; it can only be lived in the mystery of a faith and worshipping community. Reflecting on scripture, mass, communion, personal prayer in our rooms or in the church before the Blessed Sacrament, and especially communal prayer as the gathered people of God are its life. Thereby we’re united with Christ and our inner life flowers. And what we need to nourish most is our inner life in God. I always marvel at the radiant peace and happiness of holy people. Union with God raises them up to the highest heaven. Theresa of Avila used to rise off the ground in contemplative prayer. And once we’re one with God through prayer, everything else falls into place. Like a child in mother’s arms, or a flower in the sun, we blossom and thrive.

Even our petition prayers help in this. One might respond, why ask for things at all, God knows our needs? The answer is our freedom. He can’t give us anything unless we ask, and, a good dad, he only gives what’s good for us. That answers those who say I prayed to win the lotto yet didn’t. Prayer isn’t pagan magic; as Christ says we shouldn’t put the lord our God to the test. But all prayer is valuable and answered in some profound way.

I’m sure that the peace in Northern Ireland is a result of the endless prayers for peace we said down the years. It took time because of our freedom, but God managed it. It was a good petition, and our Father never ignores his children’s deep pleas. So we shouldn’t get discouraged in prayer. Keep “storming heaven” as my mother used to say. For it deepens and enriches our being and gives us great inner strength during hard times. In hospitals, people constantly say to me without prayer I’d never have got through. Our Lady’s right, the cure for the world’s ills is prayer. Thereby we grow in dignity, wholeness and freedom from evil. I’m sure the world would be in Satan’s grasp now without the prayers of the faithful. But the world of which Satan is lord fades to ashes at last and leaves us empty before eternity, but if we ask in prayer Christ will give us love, truth, goodness, and happiness for life in this world and forever and ever, amen. So as God’s own, praying personally and deepening a relationship with God in vital communal worship, lets profess our faith..

Prayers of the Faithful

As God’s own, gathered at the most fruitful form of prayer and union with Christ, lets ask for our material and spiritual needs.

For our Holy Father and all leaders of the church, that they may be lights of faith and prayerful healing for the whole world..

For civil leaders, may they have God’s guidance and blessing in their work for the people, especially those most in need..

For our youth that they may return to the lord and the church if they have strayed and find in prayer their true selves..

For our parents, homes and children that the lord may guide and protect them always and that they may pray and stay together..

For the sick that through our prayers and care, the healing strength, grace and love of God may ease their suffering..

For the dead that through our continuing charitable prayers and remembrance they may enjoy the communion of the saints…

And we ask all these our prayers through Christ who intercedes forever for us before Our Father in heaven, amen.

Reflection

There’s a story told of that great writer on prayer, St Theresa of Avila, doctor of the church. Once, she prayed constantly for an notorious felon who was about to be hanged, that he would come to the arms of the lord and salvation at last, for he was a militant unbeliever. Lo and behold on the scaffold, as he was about to be executed, he surprised everyone by turning and kissing the crucifix. Theresa saw that as the fruit of her prayer. Lets all have the same confidence in the power of prayer to raise us and the world to God and his heavenly throne and in some mysterious way to bring the world to its true destiny in God and all that peaceful, right and true – Hail Mary

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