FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2013
PERSISTENCE IN PRAYER
November 17, 2012
Today’s gospel: Luke 18:1-8
Jesus says, “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Lk 18:8b). When Jesus returns, what will be the state of his Church? Right now it is not looking very good. Very many Christians, a great majority of the total, are uncommitted, lapsed, nominal, secular, cultural. Many have bought in to the ways of the world, to such abominations as contraception, abortion, same-sex marriage. The powers that be, including those who claim to be Christians or even devout Catholics, are committed to forcing the culture of death upon the whole world. If a person, company, church or nation resists, they are subjected to legal sanction, and can lose property, liberty (being jailed) and religious freedom. The tsunami of evil rampages throughout the whole world.
Why has this happened to a world that is 1/3 Christian? Well, since Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus, if that personal relationship is not nurtured and strengthened, then inevitably Christians fall away. There is just too much pressure from the world, the flesh and the devil, for one to resist if one does not have a strong vibrant relationship with Jesus. How is this relationship established? It is through persistent prayer. Prayer is our communication with God. Prayer keeps us connected with the divine. Prayer allows God to guide us, teach us and strengthen us. Prayer keeps us securely in God’s loving embrace.
So Jesus tells his disciples “about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.” (Lk 18:1). He uses the parable of the persistent widow. They need to pray persistently so that they will not fall victim to apostasy (v.8b). Faith necessitates prayer, and a strong faith necessitates intense and persistent prayer.
To have faith is to BE.LI.EV.E. To believe is to pray.
We need to BE a friend of Jesus. Friends communicate, spend time together, get to know each other intimately. This happens as we pray always.
We need to LIve the way of Jesus. Only Jesus can show us his way of life. Only he can grant us the grace to live his way of life. We need to try to put on his mind, and allow him to form us, guide us, nurture us, strengthen us. This can only happen as we pray always.
We need to EVangelize in the name of Jesus. Jesus is the one who sends us forth to proclaim his salvation to the world. We can only do this in the power of his Spirit. There will be strong opposition from the enemy as we engage in spiritual warfare. We will be bruised and battered. We can only endure and persevere if we pray always.
We want to Enter into Eternal life. If we do the above, then Jesus will find the faith in us when he comes at the end of time.
Now Jesus 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.” (Lk 18:7-8a). God is not slow to answer.
But how many times have we prayed intently but God did not grant our prayers? At times He seems not to be hearing us. Well, God always hears and answers, but sometimes the answer is “no” or “not now.” Oftentimes we ask for things that might become harmful to us. God knows best what we need, and when we need them.
Further, God wants us to persist in prayer. If we easily got what we wanted when we prayed the first time, we will end up taking God for granted. We will not move on to enter more deeply into a relationship with Him, which deeper relationship is what God wants, which is what prayer truly is about. At times God wants us to “grapple” with him, trying to understand why He is not granting our prayer. In the process, God is able to reveal to us more of who He is.
God imparts justice speedily. Justice is giving to the other person what is his due. God wants to form us back into His image and likeness, and bring us to eternal life in heaven. This is what is due to us according to God’s original intent in creation. God is able to do this when we persist in prayer and we pray always. If we become weary, we stop praying. When we stop, then the communication channels no longer exist. But when we persist, and we pray always, then God has all the opportunity to teach us, to mold us, to empower us. In prayer our faith is deepened. And when we pray until Jesus returns once again, then he will bring us to heaven with him.
The very first commitment we make in our covenant in CFC-FFL is to pray daily. This is the very foundation of our life of faith in Jesus. With the call to the New Evangelization, let us never neglect this commitment to daily prayer. We pray daily, with persistence and perseverance, until the Lord returns once again.
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