Thursday, April 30, 2009
As I have gotten older, I find myself praying more. While I have always prayed, there have certainly been seasons of my life when the practice of it would declare it to be something of little value. I look back at those times with regret. I think one of the differences between then and now is the difference between duty and desire. For too long I prayed out of a sense of oughtness. Praying was something that was my duty and responsibility. In more recent years, I have become aware that the duty has been replaced by a desire to experience God. Please do not think I have arrived. There is still the sense of struggle. There still exists the temptation to use my time for other things of lesser value and then use my power of rationalization to justify the substitution. Prayer is, after all, a spiritual discipline and the word "discipline" speaks of the effort necessary to sustain a relationship.
Perhaps, it is also true that the years have hammered home the realization that I cannot make it alone. I cannot make it without the ongoing presence of God in my life. In my strongest moments, I know I am still too weak to make it without that connection with the One who created me. David had it right when he wrote what we find in the 11th verse of that 51st Psalm: "Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me." More important than anything else was his need to experience the presence of God.
Of all the blessings which come because of the practice of prayer, surely this single one is the most blessed. To be in the presence of God, to sense His Spirit stirring in our hearts, to know we are once again at one with Him, to experience divine communion with the One who knows us; yet, still loves us--surely, these are the most valued treasures of our moments alone with God. And even now, Holy Father, I thank You for reminding me.