Monday, November 24, 2008
Encouragement always needed
Mountain climbers encourage one another. I think the martyrs also drew strength from one another. Today we celebrate St. Andrew Dung-Lac, St.Peter Thi, and the Vietnamese martyrs. The students in my International On-line Certificate Program in Spirituality Studies have been impressed by the martyrs in the early church. In Vietnam, between the 17th and 19th centuries, there were over 130,000 Christians martyred. Among them were the two priests we celebrate today; they were beheaded on December 21, 1839.
When visiting in England last month I looked at a book "Patterns of Prayer" by Eugene McCaffrey,O.C.D.(Paulist Press, 2003). I found that this book says exactly what I believe and teach about prayer. Here are a few notes I took - they also may be mixed with my own thoughts! His first chapter, "Getting Started" has this bit of wisdom: The only way to begin to pray is to begin."
Encouragement is what we all need most in prayer.
Prayer is simple, but not easy! Simple because God loves each one of us personally and uniquely and prayer is basically6 a response to that love. We complicate it.
Real prayer is as real as the life we live and one cannot be separated from the other. The one condition essential to prayer is the desire to want to pray.
I will end today with a quote from St. Madeleine Sophie that I am mulling over:
"Be simple. Only at this price will you acquire peace, and if to this peace you join silence, you will soon be holy."
So let us encourage one another in prayer and let us be simple and silent as we go about our daily tasks.