Prayer as an answer
-Homily March 9, 2014
It is Lent once
again, a time to pray more, to pray more intensely, to pray better. I would
like to say something helpful in this regard. I would like to speak about
prayer as an answer to God who speaks to us first.
pray, but we don't know what to say. Sometimes our prayer doesn't seem to be
heard. Sometimes we know what to say, but it doesn't seem to us that our prayer
is a dialogue. Other times we pray, but we find that our prayer is only words,
and it doesn't change our life.
has happened to you, to find a person who doesn't know how to listen. It is
very difficult to talk with a person like this. With regard to prayer, we need
to understand that God speaks, that he wants to speak, and we have to try to
answer the best way we can.
To pray is not to speak, it is to think; it is to say words that we
think. To pray is not to feel, it is to love; it is to be ready to love even in
suffering, and when we don't feel well. To pray is to raise our thinking and
our love to God. But God has thought us and has loved us before.
1 - God has
loved us before because he created us. God has loved us before because he died
for us on the cross. God has given me faith and grace in baptism, and he has
called me to eternal life. If now I pray, it is because God thought of me
before and he loved me. How do I answer to that love of God, manifested in the
cross of Jesus?
2 - God
speaks to me every day through the circumstances of my life. Each gift that I
receive is a caress of God. Each suffering is also a blessing, because it
allows me to have a great recompense in paradise. There is no paradise without
passing first through the way of the cross. Each needy person I meet on my way
is God himself who asks me for help. How do I answer to God?
3 - God
speaks in the Holy Scriptures, in the Bible when I read it at home and
particularly when the Word of God is read in the Church. Do I pay attention to
the readings? Do I realize that God is speaking, and that he is speaking to me?
What do the readings say to me? And how do I respond?
4 - God also
speaks with actions, especially in the Eucharist. Because it is very easy to
speak about love, but love is about actions, it is proved in the sacrifices
that a person does for you. In the Eucharist, the very God surrenders himself
to you with his body and his blood. He gives himself to you. What is our
also in our heart, in our conscience, and in so many other forms. Now, let us
consider our answer. Our prayer has to be an answer to God who has spoken to us
1 - The
Sacred Scriptures say through Saint Paul: "Set your minds on things above,
not on earthly things." (Col 3:2) Our Lord said "Seek the Kingdom of
God first, and all the rest will be given to you as well." (Matt 6:33) This
means that our prayer cannot be limited to request from God for the things of
here below: more money, more health, etc. If we really listen what God says, we
have to worry about the things of the spirit, and leave in his hands the things
of the earth. We have to ask God to be better persons, to forgive more, to
offend him less with our tongue and with our thoughts. These things are much
When it seems
to us that God is not listening to our prayer, we may ask ourselves: Is it not
actually myself who does not want to listen what God is asking from me?
2 - God also tells
us many things in the Sacred Scriptures. Do we do what he says? Here is a
beautiful prayer: "O God, you have told me in the Gospel that I have to
forgive, or that I have to be pure, or that I need to have more faith: I want
to do it, my Lord, but help me, because I am weak." This is to pray! God
speaks, you listen,
you answer. I assure you that if we speak in this way, God will
always answer to us.
3 - Finally,
God speaks in the Eucharist. This is his most important word, his Word
incarnate. God speaks by giving himself. The only possible answer is to give
ourselves to Jesus. It is a self-giving of love. Not for a while, but forever.
It is for this reason that the dialogue of the Eucharist does not finish in
church. If you say Amen in communion, it means that you have given yourself to
Jesus. And therefore, if your body belongs to Jesus, you cannot give it to sin.
If your thoughts belong to Jesus, you cannot give them to hatred. If your words
belong to Jesus, they cannot offend your neighbor. Dear friends, the one who
prays well at Mass is the one who lives well outside the church. If we don't
live well outside the church, it is because we can still grow in our
May the Lord
teach us to pray. May he give us the grace of
listening, of listening what he tells us, and of responding properly.
May the Holy Virgin Mary help us and protects us always. –Fr.