Prayer is the language of the human heart. Prayer can be expressed in the silence of a late night when one’s heart cries out using no oral words. No! Our Lord knows more fully than you or me, that prayer is in fact the silent cries deeply embedded in the very depth of one’s self. Prayer is that great expression we can experience within the very human spirit which rests within the very depth of one’s being. There within you is a temple for our dearly beloved Lord. There within that very silence rests the Eternal One. Our spiritual vision is noted in St Paul’s words, “Now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face.” (1 Cor 13:12).Our Lord finds rest, good will, courage and steadfast faith within the abiding heartfelt faith you have been granted. Treasure this Divine presence within your own heart, mind and spirit.
Our Lord is with you and all who are in search of our Lord’s immense love, Divine mercy and daily presence. Go off to a quiet place. There welcome our dearly beloved Lord. Do so in silence, with heartfelt love, childlike trust and blessed wonder. Wonder and you will find wisdom. Pray and you will see God. Then in deep heartfelt humility give thanks to our one common Creator. Lastly, in a spirit of awe allow your heart to express deep gratitude to He who walks in your company.
Prayer is for you, and I personally believe is for all people living on this great planet of Earth. If you are willing to pursue a great education, or to study, work in a trade, and over some years learn and become a skilled craftsman, or if you are skilled at managing the resources of the earth, the seasonal rains and snows ,and the crops of the fields, then you too have recognized God’s various gifts. He provides countless crops of the fields, the various flowers in the gardens, the many animals of the forests, the livestock managed in terms of a herd, or the countless trees of the forests and the various fishes of the countless waterways on earth…
If you can develop your mind, your abilities, and your own personal sinew, then you in fact will have lived your one life using the gifts God granted unto you. Realize God’s countless gifts granted unto you: your family members, the neighbors nearby, the strangers you might meet, and even through your enemy…these are all ways in which God speaks daily. If you do not look you will not see. If you do not listen you will not hear. If you think you have done all this on your own, take a hard look at Truth! You owe yourself truth! God encourages all of us to live our lives as it is written in Heb 4:16”Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in times of need.”. Our Lord hears you! Do you give ear to our Lord, and listen with an attentive heart, mind and spirit? Hear these sacred words of divine assurance, “…Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Mt 28:20).
Our dear Lord always reminds you, me and all humanity that we are to be forgivers. We are to let go of the past. Close yesterdays door and move forward. Our Lord spoke through St Paul when he wrote, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph 4:32). Prayer is that breath you take, that step you take, that ability to witness yet another sunrise or sunset. You are so blessed. Your life is already holy precisely because God willed your creation and has a place for you in the unfolding of His kingdom here at hand. Have the courage to place your life into the outstretched hands of our Lord. Go off to that place where the sacred can quietly enter into the temple of your frail, broken and imperfect heart. Go off to that place in God’s creation where you and our dear Lord can enter into a spiritual union, a place and moment when man and God are indeed aware of one another’s presence. There you will discover and rediscover our Lord’s presence within the very fibers of your own holy life. Trust in our dear Lord and know, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 1:7,9-10).
Listen to our dear Lord throughout the passing of each hour every day. Pray and pray more. When you doubt whether your prayers are real, sincere or have any real value, then, that kind of reflection, wonder and careful self-examination is the beginning of a prayer life in which life itself will keep you closer to our dear Lord. Also, you will grow over your lifetime in your keen and attentive awareness of our Lord’s impact on you and the holy life you sincerely seek to live…one hour, one day at a time. “And He said, My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Ex 33:14.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Rom 12:2). Always be sincere. Do not try to play some role as a disciple of Christ. That is just acting. Rather, be one of perseverance, determination and courage. If you truly are seeking to spend a lifetime in the company of Christ, then, like Christ, you must be willing to experience rejection, slander, liars, cheats and so much more which is part of our community. Even they are children of God. And they, like you were brought into this world as children of God. But do they listen to our dear Lord? Accept a person where they are at. Greet them with sincere kindness. Be present to another person. “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” (Rom 12:15). Like Christ and as a human being bearing genuine brokenness, imperfection and doubts, read these sacred words, “For in that He Himself had suffered being tempted. He is able to succor those that are tempted.”(Hebrews 2:18)
In 1 John 3:17-18, it is written, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or tongue, but in deed and truth.” Luke also reminds us that a holy life in Christ should seek and be willing to “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Lk 6:38).
Whatever you choose to pursue in this one gift of a lifetime, I pray you will freely choose to put Christ first. This life is and will not always be easy. Ironically, sometimes the biggest burdens you must bear will be placed upon your frail shoulders by people who do not necessarily care much about you, or anyone else. These can appear to be tough, nasty people. Maybe they are. But, again, we must always remind ourselves and one another, as well as these same people that their own life is in fact sacred, precious and holy. This is precisely because God has created them out of divine live, in His image and likeness and that they have a role to play in the unfolding of God’s kingdom at hand. Even the least among us have goodness within. Recognize this always. Remind them about their own sacred life and about the goodness they have possessed since that holy day and holy moment when God breathed life into them. Ask them, if they even know this? Ask them, “HOW do you give back to our Lord?” When you either freely choose or must walk amid people who are liars and cheats, be attentive, listen to what might not being said, to the way in which words are spoken and of course the words themselves. Look right into the eyes of whomever is speaking to you. Listen! Listen! Do all this in the Holy Name of Jesus and you will have fulfilled these sacred words, “He that goes forth and weeps, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Ps 126:6). “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain you: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Ps 55:22). “But above all things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” (Col 3:14).
In the end, all you can do is meet a person where they are at, give them your best efforts, and allow our Lord to speak to you through the least among us. You will fail far more often than you will succeed. They key to successfully living out a life centered on Christ is not measured by an average or numbers. Rather success is when you humbly seek to follow in the footsteps of our beloved Lord, Jesus Christ. That deep genuine heartfelt desire in itself is God’s ample graces and blessings and heartfelt wisdom shining forth into a place and moment when you, as a modern disciple of Christ, brought forth His Good News in a spirit of service deeply rooted in the greatest gift—that of love. If you have done your best, even amid defeat, simply end that day keenly aware our good Lord is with you now, and until the hour of your death. Then in prayer, trust, and a spirit of thanksgiving, place your head on a pillow and believe you will be granted a new day. Then be at peace with the world, God and yourself, and seek rest and renewal.
-Father Michael Briese