April 2, 2017

Friends, 

When people talk most about praying, I believe they really mean “saying prayers,” e.g., many people say prayers in the morning or before they go to bed. Some say prayers before meals. In many of these cases, I am guessing that the majority of the prayers are probably recited as a ritual that has become a part of their lives. There may be others who pray regularly, maybe even at designated times, but instead of repeating memorized words, may pray from their heart and use their own expressions. This is what many people do when they pray. Of course, there are others who may spend time in prayer by reading scripture or some form of spiritual reading or may even pray the Liturgy of the Hours (psalms and readings designed for various times of the day). 

We also have devotions such as the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, Benediction, and Novenas which serve as prayer for many. There are those who love Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and are at peace spending quiet time in Church. The celebration of the Eucharist (celebrating Mass) is truly when we are most at prayer as a faith community. The Mass is the acknowledgement that our faith is not just a private devotion but an awareness that what we believe and celebrate also has a social aspect. No matter how we pray it is meant to make us aware of our responsibilities as Christians (followers of Christ), in and for our world. 

So why do I pray? Because I want to be more aware of God's presence in my life. But also, because I want to become more aware every day of what God's presence means for me, and what He invites and challenges me to be. So my prayer is that I may take advantage of all the goodness that God makes possible in my life, and that I may put in perspective any of the negativity that I encounter. 

So I see life not as a test that I pass or fail, but as a journey that I experience. Of course, as my concept of God has evolved, so has my understanding of prayer. I have come to the conclusion that I am most at prayer when I am celebrating the sacraments with you. They make me very aware of the sacred moments in my life and how ritual it is to celebrate those in community. And now that I think of it, those are also the moments in my life when I am most aware of God's presence. It then becomes obvious to me that the closest I come to experiencing who God truly is, is when I am face to face with humanity and all of God's creation. 

So I would say, for me, prayer has gone from being a chore, to a habit, to a joy. I hope you can say the same. 

Enjoy Life! 
Fr. Ron Coyne

 

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