A while back I wrote: “So, this one sober Catholic “Voice crying out in the wilderness” of recovery, pointing the way to the healing power of the Church and Her resources, is going to spend a few posts writing about St. John the Baptist and how his message of prayer, fasting and repentance can be useful in recovery.”
And as this is Lent, the Baptist’s “message of prayer, fasting and repentance” is especially appropriate. Not that you will be asked to wear a tunic of camel’s hair or dine on locusts and wild honey, but some measure of self-denial is expected. 😉
This morning I got a hint to begin this ocassional series when I read the Liturgy of the Hours. There was a homily by St. John Chrysostom on prayer, and I’ll excerpt it here:
“From the Second Reading of the Office of Readings for the Friday after Ash Wednesday:
From a homily by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop
Prayer and converse with God is a supreme good: it is a partnership and union with God. As the eyes of the body are enlightened when they see light, so our spirit, when it is intent on God, is illumined by his infinite light. I do not mean the prayer of outward observance, but prayer from the heart, not confined to fixed times or periods but continuous throughout the day and night.
Our spirit should be quick to reach out toward God, not only when it is engaged in meditation; at other times also, when it is carrying out its duties, caring for the needy, performing works of charity, giving generously in the service of others, our spirit should long for God and call him to mind, so that these works may be seasoned with the salt of God’s love, and so make a palatable offering to the Lord of the universe. Throughout the whole of our lives we may enjoy the benefit that comes from prayer if we devote a great deal of time to it.
Prayer is the light of the spirit, true knowledge of God, mediating between God and man. The spirit, raised up to heaven by prayer, clings to God with the utmost tenderness; like a child crying tearfully for its mother, it craves the milk that God provides. It seeks the satisfaction of its own desires, and receives gifts outweighing the whole world of nature. Prayer stands before God as an honored ambassador. It gives joy to the spirit, peace to the heart.”
Somewhere I read that prayer is the uplifting of the heart and mind to God. We offer up our selves, our wants and needs in humble petition and supplication, and we express gratitude and thanksgiving for the answer (even if it’s “No.”)
Lent has just begun. It is definitely not too late to begin a greater dedication to enhancing your prayer life. Reading Sacred Scripture daily, if you don’t already do so is one great way; another is to spend an hour every so often in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
And for us alcoholics, it’s Step 11!Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)"The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"