Saturday, October 19, 2013

Call Out to Him

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight, but when he let his hands rest, Amalek had the better of the fight.  Moses’ hands, however, grew tired; so they put a rock in place for him to sit on.  Meanwhile Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other, so that his hands remained steady till sunset.  Exodus 17:11-12

[P]roclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.  2 Timothy 4:2

The Lord said, "Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.  Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?  Will he be slow to answer them?  I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.  But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"  Luke 18:6-8

It might be hard for most moderns to see the holding of the hands up in the air as prayer.  Moses becomes the model of Charismatic prayer in the way he had Aaron and Hur helping him to hold his hands up.  Kissing the floor told my body I was in the presence of God for my prayer.  It is my equivalent way of putting myself by a physical action in the presence of the Lord.  What others do for us by their example give us the power to keep doing what might seem foolish in our world today.  The Application of the senses in prayer is a lost art for many.  Touch, feel, listen, smell, and taste all bring out senses into our prayer.  We are so much more than our minds that it is truly a shame when we reduce our prayer to thinking at God.  Mind will and memory are important parts of prayer.  But they are not everything.  How we physically present ourselves to the Lord is important.  They bring more reverence to our prayer. 

Paul teaches us to remain faithful to what we have learned and believed from the Sacred Scripture.  Our wisdom for salvation comes from Christ Jesus.  The Sacred Scripture is inspired.  They help us to belong to God.  Our prayer brings what we are going to do for the Lord before God.  Prayer gives us the courage to proclaim the word by being persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient.  Jesus tells his disciples to pray always without becoming weary.  Luke convinces us of the value of consistency in our prayer by the example of the unjust Judge who does what is right to get the widow off his case.  He did what was right because he was bothered by the widow.  God who loves us will secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night all the more.

We are challenged by our readings this week to be men and women of prayer.  God will listen to us.  Our vocation in life is to be Contemplatives-in-Action.  For St. Ignatius, that meant that we worked like everything that we did depended on God.  We invite the Lord to begin our work by his inspiration and to carry it out by his gracious assistance.  Then, we can believe that it would be finished as he would wish it.  We work and see God in what we are doing.  Thus, our work is prayer by our invitation to the Lord to be essential to our prayer.  We pray as if our prayer depended completely on ourselves alone.  Thus, our work becomes our prayer and our prayer becomes our work.  Ignatius would allow his formed Religious fifteen minutes for prayer.  If they wanted more time for prayer, he would give them another job to do because their work was their prayer.  However, Mass, Divine Office and Rosary were taken for granted as an essential part of prayer life. Thus, we work at making our lives into prayer.

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