“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

Mental prayer & meditation (1)

Rev José Mario O Mandía

“And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him pursued him, and they found him and said to him, ‘Every one is searching for you’” (Mark 1:35).

We live in a noisy and hurried world. We dread silence. We find it hard to stay put. We want to be always busy with something. Pope Francis writes in Laudato Si’: “Many people today sense a profound imbalance which drives them to frenetic activity and makes them feel busy, in a constant hurry which in turn leads them to ride rough-shod over everything around them.”

But we want to follow Jesus. What should we do? Go with him “in the morning, a great while before day … to a lonely place.”

Why pray? One time we had a problem in the house with the ceiling light. Just a few hours after replacing the bulb, it would not light up. So we called in the electrician.  “It’s a problem of the contact point,” he declared, “the bulb is not touching the source of power.”

Why pray? Prayer is our “contact point” with God. We could be the best bulb in the whole world, but if we do not touch the source of power, we would never give off light, we would only spread darkness.

Pope Benedict XVI, in a gathering with the priests of Rome, said, “Spending time in God’s presence in prayer is a real pastoral priority; it is not an addition to pastoral work: being before the Lord is a pastoral priority and in the final analysis, the most important.”

Here is something to think about. It was written by Grace L. Naessens in 1960.

I got up early one morning
and rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish
that I didn’t have time to pray.

Problems just tumbled about me,
and heavier came each task.
“Why doesn’t God help me?” I wondered.
He answered, “You didn’t ask.”

I wanted to see joy and beauty,
but the day toiled on, gray and bleak;
I wondered why God didn’t show me.
He said, “But you didn’t seek.”

I tried to come into God’s presence;
I used all my keys at the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided,
“My child, you didn’t knock.”

I woke up early this morning,
and paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish
that I had to take time to pray.

Featured image: Pope Francis in meditation, about an hour before celebrating Mass.

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