Monthly Meditation #9
We remind ourselves through the words of prayer to
focus our attention on the object of our desire; otherwise
the desire that began to grow lukewarm may grow chill
altogether and may be totally extinguished unless it is
repeatedly stirred into a flame. -St. Augustine
May the grace and peace of the Risen Lord Jesus be with you! I thought these words of St. Augustine particularly appropriate as we continue to move into a busier and busier time of our year. In the same Letter to Proba quoted from above, St. Augustine reminds us that we must: "turn our minds to the task of prayer...since that desire grows lukewarm, so to speak, from our involvement in other concerns and occupations." This is always the challenge we face. There are so many other "concerns and occupations" that fill our lives, that we often run great risk of allowing our prayer to be totally overwhelmed by them. And yet, if we do, we then run the worse risk of our life with the Lord growing chill.
This has been a problem for the followers of the Lord Jesus as long as there have been followers of the Lord Jesus. It dates even from the beginning--why else would St. Paul have exhorted St. Timothy to stir into a flame what he had been given? It is a perennial issue. But, as St. Augustine points out, this means that we must make the conscious choice of turning our minds to prayer. God calls us to pray, and graces us to pray, but we must respond and cooperate and actually take the time to pray.
We are very close to beginning one of the holiest seasons of our Church year, the
Advent-Christmas season. It is so often our experience, however, that this is also one of the very busiest seasons of our year, with the result that during a time when there is so much very special grace available, we probably actually pray less. Perhaps if we make some concrete choices now to strengthen our prayer time and our commitment to it, it will not be quite so overwhelmed when the season gets even busier. There is a wonderful proverb (Sirach 22:16) that says that the mind that is firmly resolved after due reflection will not flinch at the critical moment. If we chose to regularly "turn our minds to the task of prayer" we will establish that necessary resolution that will protect our relationship with the Lord Jesus. Let us plead with Him to keep our hearts on fire with love for Him, with a desire to grow ever closer to Him in the heart of His Church, with a zeal for the things of His Kingdom! It is His desire for us, and if we would but cooperate, we will continue to grow more deeply in love with Him Who loved us first. I commend you to the care of the Mother of God and the protection of St. Michael.