Friday, November 22, 2013

Building a house of prayer

There is nothing more worthwhile than to pray to God and to converse with him, for prayer unites us with God as his companions. As our bodily eyes are illuminated by seeing the light, so in contemplating God our soul is illuminated by him. Of course the prayer I have in mind is no matter of routine, it is deliberate and earnest. It is not tied down to a fixed timetable; rather it is a state which endures by night and day.

Our soul should be directed in God, not merely when we suddenly think of prayer, but even when we are concerned with something else. If we are looking after the poor, if we are busy in some other way, or if we are doing any type of good work, we should season our actions with the desire and the remembrance of God. Through this salt of the love of God we can all become a sweet dish for the Lord. If we are generous in giving time to prayer, we will experience its benefits throughout our life.

Prayer is the light of the soul, giving us true knowledge of God. It is a link mediating between God and man. By prayer the soul is borne up to heaven and in a marvellous way embraces the Lord. This meeting is like that of an infant crying on its mother, and seeking the best of milk. The soul longs for its own needs and what it receives is better than anything to be seen in the world.

Prayer is a precious way of communicating with God, it gladdens the soul and gives repose to its affections. You should not think of prayer as being a matter of words. It is a desire for God, an indescribable devotion, not of human origin, but the gift of God's grace. As Saint Paul says: we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.

Anyone who receives from the Lord the gift of this type of prayer possesses a richness that is not to be taken from him, a heavenly food filling up the soul. Once he has tasted this food, he is set alight by an eternal desire for the Lord, the fiercest of fires lighting up his soul.

To set about this prayer, paint the house of your soul with modesty and lowliness and make it splendid with the light of justice. Adorn it with the beaten gold of good works and, for walls and stones, embellish it assiduously with faith and generosity. Above all, place prayer on top of this house as its roof so that the complete building may be ready for the Lord. Thus he will be received in a splendid royal house and by grace his image will already be settled in your soul.

St John Chrysostom

Pope reflects on temples where we worship God

• A temple is a place where we meet to pray, praise and thank the Lord, but above all, it’s a place where we gather to worship God. At his morning Mass in the Santa Martha Chapel today, Pope Francis focused his homily on both the temple as a building and St Paul’s understanding of our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit.

The temple is the central reference point of the whole people of God, Pope Francis said, as he reflected on the Old Testament reading about the re-consecration of the ancient Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Speaking about the beauty, music and ritual of our liturgies, the Pope said the main focus of the community gathered around the altar must be our adoration of God. Recalling how Jesus chases away those who tried to do business in the temple, he asked whether our churches and our liturgical celebrations today help us to worship and adore God?

But the Pope also spoke of the inner life of each individual as a temple where we can worship God and try to follow his commandments in our daily lives. Recalling St Paul’s words about our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit, he said God’s Spirit is in us so we must listen and follow him.

Following God’s word, the Pope went on, requires a continual purification, since all of us are sinners. We do this through prayer, through penitence, through the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. In this way, he concluded, in both the material building where we worship and in the spiritual temple of our hearts, our attitude must be one of adoration and attentive listening, an attitude of prayer, penitence and praise


source: Vatican Radio