Fr. Roy Cimagala .
YES, despite whatever—dryness, boredom, lukewarmness, tiredness and a long list of etcetera—let’s just persevere in prayer. The effort to pray that may need to be heroic and extraordinary at times will never go unnoticed with God our Father who can never be outdone in generosity. To be sure, he will give us much more than what we give him.
Persevering in prayer will eventually give us new lights, insights and impulses that will leave us amazed at the goodness and kindness of God, his mercy and all-embracing love. It will rekindle or at least fan into a flame our dying fire of love for God and for others.
When we persevere in meditating on the words of God found in the gospel, for example, we would be astonished at how old familiar passages and ideas acquire new meaning and open to us practically a whole new world of insights that can inspire us to action and different initiatives.
Let us remember that the word of God, as the Letter to the Hebrews would put it, “is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (4,12) As one saint also said, God’s word is eternal, always new while it is also old. It will always be relevant and will engage us in a meaningful way at any moment.
In short, meditating on the gospel will help us to have focus and sense of direction in life. It helps us avoid leading a scattered attention, reacting only to the passing things, to the here and now that often are mere fancies and curiosities. Let’s have good control on our tendency to get distracted because of the internet, gadgets, multitasking lifestyle, etc.
It will help us to distinguish the voice of God who will always be intervening in our life. More than that, it will facilitate the continuance of our conversation with God who initiates it.
Again to be sure, God will surprise us with some overwhelming gestures from time to time to awaken us from our tendency to sleep spiritually. This happened, for example, during his transfiguration in Mt. Thabor before the three totally bewildered apostles Peter, James and John. (cfr. Mt 17,1-12)
We can expect some similar occurrences. Thus, some saints experienced visions, ecstasies and other extraordinary things because of their perseverance in prayer despite all kinds of obstacles.
But, yes, it cannot be denied that given our human condition we will experience all kinds of things that will make prayer difficult for us. We should just try to comply with what Christ once said to the sleepy apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane. “Watch and pray so that you may not enter into temptation. For the spirit is willing but the body is weak.” (Mt 26,41)
Indeed only in prayer can we manage to deal with temptations effectively. And that’s because when we pray, we unite ourselves more and more with Christ and thereby share his powers and his ability to ward off temptations and the devil himself.
When we feel weakening in our prayer, let us take advantage of that condition itself to go closer to God, even if we have to crawl and beg. Let’s assume that logic expressed once by St. Paul: “Power is perfected in weakness…for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12,9-10)
Let’s always sharpen our dispositions for prayer. We need to make our faith alive, making it more incarnated rather than simply lingering in the abstract sphere. We have to strengthen our spirit of sacrifice and mortification. We cannot persevere in prayer if we remain weak in body and, worse, in will.
Let us always try to look for the appropriate place and time for our meditations.