A Message from Father William

This Sunday, we read about prayer, as the Lord Jesus instructs us to gather in His Name (Matthew 18:15-20). Prayer is a gift from God, a privilege and a duty that He gives us, as God the Holy Spirit enables to pray (Romans 8:26-27; Galatians 4:6). Prayer is communion with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Throughout human history, the world and cultures need people to be in prayer, in communion with God who is love (1 John 4). Reflecting on prayer, our conversation with God, let us listen to Him through His Bible and Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2558-2561):

“Great is the mystery of the faith!” The Church professes this mystery in the Apostles’ Creed (Catechism, Part One) and celebrates it in the sacramental liturgy (Part Two), so that the life of the faithful may be conformed to Christ in the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father (Part Three). This mystery, then, requires that the faithful believe in it, that they celebrate it, and that they live from it in a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God – this relationship is prayer, which the Holy Spirit enables us to do (Part Four). “For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward Heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy” (Saint Thérèse of Lisieux).

Saint John Damascene said that “prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.” And when we pray, we are not to speak from the height of our pride and will, but from the depths of a humble and contrite heart (Psalm 130). Jesus reminds us that he who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 8:9-14) – humility is foundational to our prayer life. Jesus Christ even teaches a prayer, the “Lord’s Prayer,” which we call the “Our Father” (Matthew 6:9-13). Only when we humbly acknowledge that we do not know how to pray as we ought (Romans 8:26), can we then be ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. In the words of Saint Augustine, “man is a beggar before God.”

“If you knew the gift of God!” ( John 4:10) The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is He who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; His asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for Him (Saint Augustine). In prayer, God is working in and through us, and so our prayer can include Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving and Supplication (ACTS).

“You would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” ( John 4:10). Our prayer of petition is a response to the plea of the living God… Prayer is the response of faith to the free promise of salvation and also a response of love to the thirst of God the Son, Jesus Christ, the Only Savior of the world ( John 7:37-39; Isaiah 12:3, 51:1). As much as ever, today’s society and culture need witnesses to prayer, to let the light of God’s love shine in this world, so let us pray, always.

With peace and prayers in Christ,
Fr. William Vernon