Saturday, July 14, 2018

Intercessory Prayer as Call to Holines

The last paragraph from the Office’s Second Reading today, “From a discourse of St Augustine on the Psalms - The true Solomon is our Lord Jesus Christ”, reminded me of a conversation I had the other day with a good Catholic lady about intercessory prayer. The spark for my reflection came from the very last two sentences:  

“He alone knows, who sees your thoughts. It is he who builds, he who gives advice, he who instils fear, he who opens the understanding, he who directs your perceptions and leads you to faith; and yet we too work, as labourers in the harvest.”

I don’t believe that we are cognizant enough of the role belonging to Jesus in our lives, He, as the “true Solomon”, the Temple builder. This unconsciousness of ours takes the wind out of most everybody’s sails when it comes to saying or hearing expressions like: “Be assured of my prayers” or “I will pray for you”. We don’t pray as we ought simply because we can’t seem to recognize the true Temple builder for who he is. We are not open to him… who builds, he who gives advice, he who instils fear, he who opens the understanding, he who directs your perceptions and leads you to faith.”

It is indeed a matter of our personal sanctity rightly understood. Saint Peter and Saint Paul were wonder workers because Christ lived in them. Jesus was their be all and end all, and thus they were indeed holy. Holiness is not something inert like radiation, but it is relational in a most dynamic sort of way. The great helper saints, to whom people have recourse for their powerful and secure intercession, like Saint Anthony of Padua or Saint Rita of Cascia, are not who they are for us because of some sort of spiritual muscles, but because of their intimate relationship with the Temple builder… who builds… This comes home to me time and again while reading Saint Faustina’s diaries. Just one excerpt:

“June 24. After Holy Communion, I heard these words: Know, My daughter, that in one moment I can give you everything that is needed for the fulfillment of this task. After these words, an extraordinary light remained in my soul, and all God’s demands seemed to me to be so simple that even a little child could carry them out.”

Call it “living in expectation” or “being attentive to the Bridegroom”, I can understand why so many church portals bore the representation in stone or mosaic or fresco of Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish virgins. What made or broke them and what makes or breaks us is attentiveness to the true Solomon, the Temple builder.

The lady asked me, “Does God hear our prayers if we are in mortal sin?” My response, “God always hears, but such prayers are without merit because we have separated ourselves off from God. We need to get to confession as quickly as possible.” Our sinfulness puts us out of range of the great work which the true Solomon would do in your life or in mine for the sake of the life of the world. We were always taught that intercessory prayer or prayer of petition was somehow less than prayer of praise or adoration. Perhaps it would be better to say that our petition is as good as our contemplation and Mary is our model: “Son, they have no wine.” “Do whatever he tells you.”

Attentiveness is the essential component of the Christian life and of our life of prayer. Cooperating with the grace provided will assure us a place as laborers in the harvest and that unto glory.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.