Prayer by Fr. Brad Peterson, O.Carm
Many of us have made New Year’s resolutions to improve ourselves and our lives. Some common ones concern our bodies: exercise more, eat less, lose weight. Others have to do with our intellect: read more good books, waste less time on mindless television or video games. Others have to do with our morality: gossip less, judge others less, be more charitable. Some have to do with our spirituality: read the Bible more, study the faith more, attend Mass more often, pray more.
The last resolution I listed regarding prayer can have a big impact on the rest of our lives and help us to grow as human beings. Many wonder how to pray more. Does it mean spending more time saying more prayers? For some it might, but when it comes to prayer, the quality is more important than the quantity. If we do not get anything out of our time dedicated to prayer, we might drop this resolution quickly.
In the book “Story of a Soul” St. Therese of Lisieux gave us a simple description of prayer: “For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look toward heaven; it is a cry of recognition and love; embracing both trial and joy.”
I appreciate this description of prayer, because it applies to any situation we might face, whether trial or joy. It calls us to look to heaven for our help, but also with our love. It begins in the heart, where the love of God, neighbor, and self exist together. It is not limited to one particular way of praying, but applies to all forms of prayer.
After the recent tragedy in Tucson, we have heard many heartfelt prayers for the victims, their families, and for our country. We pray for the recovery of the wounded, and for recovery of a more neighborly society.
Let us resolve to live this year as more prayerful people.
Fr. Bradley Peterson, O. Carm.