Friday, November 16, 2012

Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, religious

Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, "There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ´Render a just decision for me against my adversary.´ For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ´While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.´" The Lord said, "Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" (Luke 18:1-8)
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you. You are my Lord and my God. You are my life and my strength. Without you, I can do nothing. I want to seek your help in everything. Open my heart to do your will. Be with me today, and help me to pray.
Petition: Lord, help me to grow in my love for prayer.
1. To Pray Always.   Saint Luke gives us the meaning before the parable. He wanted to make sure we didn’t miss the lesson. God wants us to pray always without becoming weary. It is a necessity, not an option. Why do we find this difficult? Sometimes we get discouraged. We are used to following our emotions or sentiments. When we feel good and close to God, then prayer is as easy as breathing. But, when difficulties come and it ceases to be fun and spontaneous, then we can easily substitute other activities for prayer.
2. Fighting Laziness Prayer takes effort and work.   We need to continually go beyond our senses to “see” the God who is beyond our senses. This can be difficult because we are used to responding to the stimuli around us. When someone speaks, we respond. We turn on the TV to watch. We listen to the radio. We are responding to stimuli from our senses all the time. Yet prayer requires us to turn off the external noise and to stimulate our own thoughts and desires for Christ. We overcome our distractions in prayer by focusing more intently on Christ. At times, it is easier just to pick up a book or turn on the TV. Don’t be afraid to face the difficulties prayer entails.
3. Sin and Prayer.   Once I understand prayer as an intimate dialogue with Christ, I can also understand what prayer and sin have to do with each other. Habitual sin can eat away at my intimacy with Christ. If I deliberately reject God in one area of my life, then I naturally lose that closeness with Christ. As I indulge in the senses, the spiritual becomes less appetizing to me. The spiritual life requires a more refined taste than the self-indulgence of sensuality. When we know there is something not quite right in our relationship with Christ, it makes it harder to pray. There is no intimacy and there is no faking it with him. All deliberate sin will adversely influence my relationship with Christ. Sin becomes a barrier that separates me from him. This is why Christ declared, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
Dialogue with Christ:  Lord, create in me a clean heart. I want to see you. I know that only the pure of heart will see you. Detach me from all sin and help me to give myself completely to you.
Resolution:  I will say a short prayer at the top of each hour today.

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