And his teaching made a deep impression on them because,
unlike the scribes,
he taught them with authority (Mk 1:22).
The recently deceased National President of the St Vincent de Paul Society, Terry Jordan, wanted to emphasize the spiritual side of the Society. Clearly he knew that we cannot be true Disciples of Christ without this emphasis. After all, we serve the poor in the hope that all will come to know the treasure hidden in Christ. Because of Terry’s emphasis I intend to devote these monthly articles for 2024 to the subject of prayer.
The scripture quote above reveals the reason why we need to go down this track. Let us remember that Jesus was fully human. He had to struggle with prayer as we do. He had to develop his relationship with the God as we do. His forty days in the desert, fasting and praying, is proof he did this. In that experience he turned down the temptation to become a political messiah and he rejected fame and status. His union with God had become so complete that it puzzled many and they recognized something of the divine coming from him. His crucifixion is proof that a large part of the world do not want the peace of God’s reign. It is important to note in Jesus, that it wasn’t his logic, or his short sermons or the conciseness of his talk that made them listen, or react. It was because of his oneness with God.
For us, it is the same. We preach, not by words, or deeds, but by who we are. Let yourself become united with God and the rest will happen. Make a new resolve to love God above all things. Let your prayer become the prayer of love. Anyone can do that. I’m only quoting just about all of the great spiritual writers when I say: the prayer of love will do you more good, than anything else you can do. But try it before you discard what I say! Someone far more committed than myself had this to say:
Nothing is more practical than finding God
That is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination
Will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,
What you will do with your evening,
How you will spend your week-ends. What you read,
And what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.
(Pedro Arrupe, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, 1965-83)
PRAYER: Spend some time in silence pondering the message above.
Discussion: Do you believe what is implied in the above? What really strikes you?