Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lk 11:1-4 The Paradox of Prayer

Wednesday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)


Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
'Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.'”

The disciples make a strange request of their Master: to teach them how to pray. They did not ask what to pray for, or how prayer works, but simply how to pray. Often in Luke's gospel, Jesus separates Himself from his audience to go and pray to the Father. Seeing this, the disciples likely wanted to imitate Him in order to better understand this gospel He brought and r to have that same relationship He with His Father.

The idea of prayer is a paradox that has baffled many who try to understand it logically. We pray to God, yet God already knows everything we could possibly pray for; He knows our thoughts, our feelings towards Him and His Son, our thoughts on sin, and the remedies that would need to receive from His grace alone. Prayer does not inform anyone of anything. Still, God commands His creation to pray. He may not require it, but we certainly do.

This paradox of prayer flips another way. If we prayed correctly, we would pray to know God and His ways better, and most devout Christians pray for this. They know better to petition God for a list of thing as though He were Santa Claus, and they know that all truly good things rest with God alone. Thus, they pray to follow God's will. This becomes paradoxical because the Christian seeks to pray to Someone he does not know for knowledge of that Someone; a person cannot pray to something that he does not know, but he nonetheless tries.

St. Augustine starts his Confessions with this question to God: “which is first, to know you or to call upon you?” After working through a few lines from scripture, Augustine comes up with the proper sequence: “Lord, let me seek you by calling upon, and let me call upon you by believing in you, for you have been preached to us.” Herein lies the answer that flusters skeptics who insists on having knowledge on their own terms. Augustine, on his reading of scripture, declares that one must first seek God, then believe in God, so that he can ultimately know God. As Christians, we should not believe God when we see Him; we should see God when we believe in Him.

Prayer acts as a proper expression of this belief that desires to know God, and to some extent, to know oneself. When I go to Confession, I never truly know my sins until I verbalize them to the priest on my knees in self-examination. As I confess, I know my sins for what they are and what they do whereas when I merely recalled my sins, waiting in line, examining my conscience, I simply did not know myself as well as in the confessional. A person may know what to expect when they look into a mirror, but truly seeing himself in the mirror brings a better knowledge of oneself. The act of prayer works in this manner: it brings knowledge to the penitent who finally organizes his thoughts into verbal expression and offers a glimpse of one's own heart. In this sense, the more we know God, the more we happen to know ourselves; the more believe in God, the more we happen to believe in ourselves. Falsehood and delusion depart, and truth and honesty enter.

In prayer, particularly the Lord's prayer, the disciple comes to know God as He is, not as we imagine Him. We come to know God as a Heavenly Father, greater than any force of nature, greater than anything we can fathom. Even His name transcends the concept of a name. Not by necessity but out of love does God create Heaven and Earth. His Kingdom comes to those who do His will, those who accept His love and return His love. He provides all we need. He forgives those humble enough to forgive others and ask for forgiveness from others. He sends His Son and Holy Spirit to keep His children from evil, for without Him they would falter and fall to perdition.

Even as Christians recite these words again and again, century after century, the words never grow old for those who truly ponder their significance. These words contain the mystery of love, of life, of sin, and forgiveness. They bring us to a world far outside yet deep within ourselves. They bring rest to the restless heart. This is ultimately what the disciples ask for, and this is what Christ, the Son of God, grants to them.

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