October 5th, 2022 – Wednesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Today’s Gospel begins by telling us that “Jesus was praying, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.’” At first glance, this doesn’t seem to be very remarkable. Yet, when we think about it, the request is an interesting one, first, because of the reference to John the Baptist. We usually remember John as a martyr, or as a fiery preacher, or as the one who fasted in the desert and wore camel hair; we don’t usually consider the Baptist as a teacher of prayer. Part of this stems from the Gospels themselves; the Evangelists didn’t record any of John’s prayers, nor do they even mention him at prayer.
This should call our attention to how important prayer is. If John the Baptist, who was a very holy man, needed to pray, how much more do we need to pray! Saint Teresa of Jesus is often quoted as writing, “Without . . . prayer a person soon becomes either a brute or a devil. If you do not . . . pray, you don’t need any devil to throw you into hell, you throw yourself in there of your own accord. On the contrary, give me the greatest of all sinners; if he practices . . . prayer, be it only for fifteen minutes every day, he will be converted. If he perseveres in it, his eternal salvation is assured.” We can ask ourselves: how much time do we give to prayer? Do we really recognize its importance? Do I pray every day, and not just for a few minutes here and there, but in everything I do?
The second thing that calls our attention is the prayer that Jesus teaches: the Our Father. When the disciples asked Him for how to pray, the first words He gives are to address God as Father. This means that God should be addressed, among other things, with childlike simplicity and childlike piety: simplicity means simplicity of heart, that is, no duplicity and useless and distrustful complications, and, above all, the principal characteristic of simplicity: humility. Piety in general means respect, devotion, and tenderness. To have a childlike piety means to have an almost natural or spontaneous faith in, devotion towards, and tenderness with God the Father. It implies a blind trust, like a child should have in their earthly father. We can ask ourselves: in prayer, do I seek to become a child before God? How is my piety, my simplicity, my humility with God? Are they like that of a child?
Today, let us ask, through the intercession of Mary, Model of Prayer, Saint Faustina, and Blessed Francis Xavier Sellos, for the grace to re-kindle our lives of prayer, knowing the importance it has for our lives, and that we have a generous Father who wants to give us what we need in this life to be with Him forever in the next.