Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lord, Teach Us To Pray

Beads of Joy 07-25-10

Lord, Teach Us To Pray
©2010 James Dacey, Jr. SFO

Hello Everyone,

This is the absolutely thee best day of the week, I sure wish everyday could be Sunday. Remember that Elvis song, "I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas", I have the same sentiment for Sundays. Well I guess to anyone retired or free at the right time every single day, that person could be at Mass all the time and celebrate it everyday. There were two separate times and places in my life that I was able to have the joy of daily Mass, and I literally went to Mass seven days a week. It was back in early days on Staten Island when I was in business with my dad and up in Western New York when I was unemployed for nine months. Now I must do whatever I can to return that joy to my life again. Today is such an exciting gospel, a truly wonderful read, and so much is covered. Today we are reflecting upon Luke 11:1-13 (The Lord's Prayer / Teachings on Prayer / Answers to Prayer) Obviously we can see that the main focus here is prayer. We are taught what to pray, how to pray, and what to expect in our prayers. Like Fr. Gerald Mullally said at our Mass last night, "Our Lord answers our prayers in three ways: Yes, No, and Maybe. The maybe just means possibly at a future date." I just paraphrased him, but I think it was verbatim. Well said Father, I am so glad you are our shepherd. Jesus teaches us to be bold and confident speaking to His Father, through the Our Father (The Lord's Prayer).

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

This is such a wonderful, precious exciting prayer that I really enjoy praying. Do we pray the Lord's Prayer with confidence, and joy and with such a feeling of closeness to our Lord? That prayer is so powerful so beautiful. We tend to follow Matthews version more closely, which can be found in chapter 6:9-13. The best way to help me convey the power and magnificence in the Lord's prayer is by me sharing a few tid-bits out of The Catechism of The Catholic Church. A truly wonderful resource I highly recommend to everyone serious in their study in the word.

2763 All the Scriptures—the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms—are fulfilled in Christ. The Gospel is this "Good News." Its first proclamation is summarized by St. Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount; the prayer to our Father is at the center of this proclamation. It is in this context that each petition bequeathed to us by the Lord is illuminated:

The Lord's Prayer is the most perfect of prayers. . . . In it we ask, not only for all the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired. This prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also in what order we should desire them.

In the Our Father, the object of the first three petitions is the glory of the Father: the sanctification of his name, the coming of the kingdom, and the fulfillment of his will. The four others present our wants to him: they ask that our lives be nourished, healed of sin, and made victorious in the struggle of good over evil.

After Jesus teaches us to pray, He goes right into a story about friend who refuses to help another friend when they are in need. A need that nourishes the body. I think it is rather interesting how in today's gospel verses 5-8 our Lord shares with us, what some writers have called, "The Parable of the Friends at Midnight" See to every Jew, hospitality was something they honored and no matter what hour it was, they opened their doors. But Jesus shares about an unwilling friend who refuses to help his fellow Jew. But between the racket of the knocking and talking out loud while his family slept and this traveler being very persistent, the friend behind the door eventually gives in and fulfills the request; and I think it was pretty much in shame, that he met his friends request. This parable teaches us how God is not like this person who refused a friend making a request. On the contrary, God never sleeps and when we ask, He listens, answering us in three different ways as I have shared earlier. We also note that God is not like this person who answered the request to merely get rid of their friend; instead God answers our requests because He loves us, our God never grows weary of our requests. And His love for us isn't earned or ever reciprocated, He freely and openly gives us all of Himself because He loves us first. God fulfills our need for nourishment in His word and in our relationship with Him. The Our Father allows us to be such a dynamic part of Almighty God's inner circle; we are God's children now.

Ok, now that we have taken all these thoughts to this level. How can we be the good friend towards others in the same way God is towards us? It seems as though this parable is telling us not to be like the selfish, possession protecting friend shared in the gospel; but rather be ready at all times to help those around us in need. Yes at times it may not fit into our prefect schedule or our perfect world of the way maybe we want it to. But even in the inconvenience of having a Godly love and hospitality towards others; we must be cheerfully open when someone else is making a request that on the onset seems to inconveniences us. Patience and trusting in God play a significant role on how we may handle such opportunities throughout our lives. Never refuse a friends request, especially when we know for a fact that we can help them. Obviously a request that is impossible or unattainable goes without question to be understandable no. It's like a friend asking for a cup of milk, but when you look into our refrigerator, and we have none. How then can we give what we don't have? Here's a thought, maybe even a challenge.

Let's say you are asked by a neighbor for something you just don't have; do you merely turn them away and say, "Sorry friend, I do not have that to give, go seek your request elsewhere." Oh my, that is even more rude that plainly refusing to help. How about trying this: when asked for something you don't have, offer to take that person a ride to the deli or offer to go get it for them on your own, using your own money. I'm not talking about doing this so that the person you are helping starts taking advantage of your generosity. You will know and you will sense when this would be appropriate. Trust that God has sent this person to you, knowing well that your love for God is within you; and that love will flow over in your efforts to help your friend. When in doubt every chance you get, always pray these wonderful words to our Lord, "Jesus, I trust in You"

Your brother in Christ Jesus & His Most Blessed Mother,
Jim (The Rosary Man) Dacey Jr SFO