Working Papers or "Veniam Pro Laudo Peto"
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Listening, praying and waiting..............

Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Praised be Jesus Christ!! Now and Forever!!
Every evening I try to read over the readings for the next day's Holy Mass. Doing so helps me to better prepare for Mass and really drink in the Sacred Scripture.
What struck me in reading Wednesday's readings may be subtle to some and stick out to others. In the first reading from Samuel we see the prophet waking up several times in the night to listen for the voice of God. He prayed and he listened. Then we go to the Gospel reading and Our Lord Jesus Christ wakes up early and goes to a deserted place and prays. If the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity seeks out that quiet prayer time are we His servants not called to do any less?
Quiet time in prayer to listen to the voice of God. Quiet time in prayer to draw strength from God to nourish the soul. Quiet time in prayer away from television, internet, phone calls, distractions of all kinds- time to pray and seek the Face of God. I have found in my times of mental prayer that very seldomly do the first 10-20 minutes bear a great amount of fruit. Possibly it takes my mind and my soul that long in silence just to calm down and be ready to listen. There is a point though which after 30 minutes or more that the soul is quiet enough- well disposed enough- that then I am ready to drink from the stream. Sometimes days and weeks go by and the best that I can do is focus on more simple vocal prayers or to gaze upon the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I think sometimes the lesson that He wants me to learn is just to be still, to trust and to know that He is God. No special insight just to be with Him, to love Him and remain in silence with Him.
Our weak human minds and wills want instant gratification even in holy pursuits. 'Lord God make me holy and make me holy right now'. To varying degrees we are all guilty of that. We want all the answers, all the graces, all the special favors and yet we do not want to just be still and remain in His presence. Call it fast food grace. Instead we need to (I need to) just sit or kneel in His Mercy and Truth and be still. There will be enough time later for the great works and for the big battles but today we rest, we pray, we listen and we remain is Christ's Love.
There will be days ahead for each of us that we will have wished we had that quiet time in prayer to draw from. None of us though can serve Christ tomorrow if we do not stop to listen for Him today in prayer. How can we expect to endure trials, temptations and times of great tests of faith then if we can not stop today to be still, listen and pray.
I found it interesting that the Responsorial Pslam for Wednesday had the words: "Here I am Lord I come to do Your Will". We can only do God's Holy Will if we ask Him and if we take the time to listen for His answer. Very seldom does God reach out and manifest His Will to people to people who are not listening first. Not to say that He does not. God can do anything He wants- He is God- we are just creatures. More often I have found it is in those quiet times of prayer and listening that the Holy Spirit gives me the inspiration I need to carry out His Divine Will. I have to stop and listen and let God be God.
I have said it before but it bears repeating that one of the easiest ways the evil one can interfere with the progress and even the fall of a soul is through constant distraction and confusion. It is one of the oldest strategies in warfare. Confuse and distract your opponent then strike. Go back and look at times when you have fallen be it to a big sin or a little one. Go back and look at the days and hours prior. Confusion- distraction- frustration- anxiety then boom you get hit with a temptation. Temptation to anger, pride, lust, greed, and the list goes on. The weapon we can use today is prayer, the Sacraments, time in Adoration, time in silence with God- then we are better prepared to do the Divine Will and to avoid the traps of the evil one. But we can not wait till tomorrow for that will be too late. We begin in prayer-today.
So, we turn off the television, turn off the computers, go in a quiet room alone and listen and pray. Maybe we start off with the Holy Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy or the Divine Office but at some point we have to allow God to speak. So we wait, we listen and we draw courage and peace to face the battles of the days and weeks ahead. It takes practice- it takes time- it takes us being still long enough to hear the still quiet voice of God who calls us. "Come, all you who are heavy burdened and I will give you rest...".
Omnia Pro Iesu Per Mariam!

"The Spirit offers the human race" the light and strength to respond to its highest calling"; through the Spirit, "mankind attains in faith to the contemplation and savoring of the mystery of God's design"; indeed, "we are obliged to hold that the Holy Spirit offers everyone the possibility of sharing in the Paschal Mystery in a manner known to God." The Church "is aware that humanity is being continually stirred by the Spirit of God and can therefore never be completely indifferent to the problems of religion" and that "people will always...want to know what meaning to give their life, their activity and their death." The Spirit, therefore, is at the very source of man's existential and religious questioning, a questioning which is occasioned not only by contingent situations but by the very structure of his being. The Spirit's presence and activity affect not only the individuals but also society and history, peoples, cultures and religions. Indeed, the Spirit is at the origin of the noble ideals and undertakings which benefit humanity on its journey through history: "The Spirit of God with marvelous foresight directs the course of the ages and renews the face of the earth." The risen Christ "is now at work in human hearts through the strength of his Spirit, not only instilling a desire for the world to come but also thereby animating, purifying and reinforcing the noble aspirations which drive the human family to make its life one that is more human and to direct the whole earth to this end." Again, it is the Spirit who sows the "seeds of the Word" present in various customs and cultures, preparing them for full maturity in Christ. Thus the Spirit, who "blows where he wills" (cf. Jn 3:8), who "was already at work in the world before Christ was glorified," and who "has filled the world,...holds all things together [and] knows what is said" (Wis 1:7), leads us to broaden our vision in order to ponder his activity in every time and place. I have repeatedly called this fact to mind, and it has guided me in my meetings with a wide variety of peoples. The Church's relationship with other religions is dictated by a twofold respect: "Respect for man in his quest for answers to the deepest questions of his life, and respect for the action of the Spirit in man." Excluding any mistaken interpretation, the interreligious meeting held in Assisi was meant to confirm my conviction that "every authentic prayer is prompted by the Holy Spirit, who is mysteriously present in every human heart." This is the same Spirit who was at work in the Incarnation and in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and who is at work in the Church. He is therefore not an alternative to Christ, nor does he fill a sort of void which is sometimes suggested as existing between Christ and the Logos. Whatever the Spirit brings about in human hearts and in the history of peoples, in cultures and religions serves as a preparation for the Gospel and can only be understood in reference to Christ, the Word who took flesh by the power of the Spirit" so that as perfectly human he would save all human beings and sum up all things." Moreover, the universal activity of the Spirit is not to be separated from his particular activity within the body of Christ, which is the Church. Indeed, it is always the Spirit who is at work, both when he gives life to the Church and impels her to proclaim Christ, and when he implants and develops his gifts in all individuals and peoples, guiding the Church to discover these gifts, to foster them and to receive them through dialogue. Every form of the Spirit's presence is to be welcomed with respect and gratitude, but the discernment of this presence is the responsibility of the Church, to which Christ gave his Spirit in order to guide her into all the truth (cf. Jn 16:13)." + Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio
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