Thursday, January 14, 2010

Turing to Prayer In Difficult Times

It seems especially foolish now, but the other evening, I had a stupid argument with my husband that grew rather heated. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I cannot wait to go to confession as even a heartfelt and sincere Act of Contrition will not suffice. When I view the catastrophe in Haiti and try to imagine the suffering of the Haitian people, I know that "sweating the small stuff", as they say, is particularly small-minded and petty. I am so fortunate to live within walking distance of at least two churches that offer confessions every day except Sunday. After going to confession, I went to evening Mass ( I had to be at work exceptionally early that day and could not make my usual 6:30 am Mass at St. Monica's) and as I was paging through my Magnificat, I came to the Meditation of the Day, which was written by St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila). It was poignant because after the silly row I had with Jim, I was almost too embarassed to pray. I had to swallow a bit of pride and anger before I could place myself in the presence of the Lord. The following is an excerpt from the Magnificat which proved the folly of my concerns:

"Now I make the sign of the Cross with amazement, and it doesn't seem to me that I underwent any danger as bad as with this invention the devil taught me under the pretext of humility. He put the thought into my head to question how, since I was so wretched and had received so many favors, I could engage in prayer; and the thought that it was enough for me to recite, like everyone else, my obligatory vocal prayers; and the question about how I could pretend to do more since I didn't even say my vocal prayers well; he suggesting that engaging in prayer showed a lack of reverence and little esteem for the favors of God.
"It was right to think about and understand these things; but to give up the practice of prayer was the greatest evil. May you be blessed Lord, Who came to my rescue."

St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila)

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