Saturday, December 1, 2007

At The Wellsprings of Prayer

During a "quiet time" this morning while Dominic was napping ("quiet time" has taken on a whole new meaning now that I have a jabbering, crawling, falling baby), I read Matthew 14-15 and was struck how Jesus feeds thousands twice within two chapters. Now I know that it may not be chronological by chapters/days, but it seems to be a central concern of Christ's. He is the Bread of Life and he is feeding the hungry, by the thousands. Not only that, but he feeds them when they have come "bothering" him from his private solace when he has just found out that his dear cousin, John the Baptist, has just been beheaded by Herod! Very interesting food for thought. (pun intended)

I followed my meditation on Matthew (well, really on Jesus) with some reading on prayer from the Catechism. The article is entitled "At The Wellsprings of Prayer". While the whole article is beautiful and very inspiring, the opening paragraphs really stood out. I couldn't help sharing them with you for two reasons. 1) We all can use a little inspiration or a fresh look at "old stuff". I italicized what particularly struck me. 2) There are a lot of misconceptions about the Catholic Church, and I thought this was a beautiful articulation (one of many) of its view of both prayer and Scripture.

At The Wellsprings of Prayer

2653 The Church "forcefully and specially exhorts all the Christian faithful . . . to learn 'the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ' (Phil 3:8) by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. . . . Let them remember, however, that prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that a dialogue takes place between God and man. For 'we speak to him when we pray; we listen to him when we read the divine oracles."'4

2654 The spiritual writers, paraphrasing Matthew 7:7, summarize in this way the dispositions of the heart nourished by the word of God in prayer "Seek in reading and you will find in meditating; knock in mental prayer and it will be opened to you by contemplation."5

That last one makes me think of an old tape of Harold and the Midnight Bread we used to listen to while we were going to bed as kids. "Don't give up, oh no no. Don't give up. Keep on knocking and you shall find...." I'm sure my brothers will be able to dredge this one up pretty quickly ; it had quite the jingle to it.

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