Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Workouts, of a sort...

Praying yesterday led me to a thought about prayer in general. I was taught--those being Jesuits who were doing the teaching--that prayer was/is a spiritual exercise. A workout for the soul, if you will. This is manifestly true, but not what I'm driving at.

I have discovered* that prayer is also therapeutic for the soul. As I grow in my prayer life** I realize that a lot of the weaknesses which I have/had simply shrink away and disappear with continued application of prayer, like a paper cut under a bandage.

I suppose this is what it means to "call upon God" (which nobody ever explained to me, as if I was supposed to yell "Hey, God!" like one would shout "Hey Kool-Aid!" in those commercials on the Saturday mornings of my youth) and now that I know it is like lifting a weight in therapy, and that for the most part it is not going to work instantly but, in conjunction with the Sacrament of Reconciliation (convenient how that's there for us, huh?) it strengthens my soul to let the everyday weaknesses and temptations slide off me. (There's a Teflon analogy in here somewhere, but I have to work on it.)

So there.

Yours in Christ,

-JMG

* It is quite possible, bordering on probable, the Church has known this since Day One...or even before then, like when Mrs. Lot turned into a vertical salt lick or they tried to turn Daniel into LionChow)

** I may not have ever adequately expressed how frustrating it is to know that I still have SO much more to grow in my prayer life.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Some incomplete thoughts...

I'm still not done digesting the whole Death of John Paul II Thing. More on that once I do.

I am, however, deeply moved by the reactions of the faithful, and images of JP2's actions during the papacy. When he would hug and kiss children, or pray at the graves of his brother and parents back in Poland...that's deeply moving stuff. More moving to me, however, is that he hung on long enough for the Vigil Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday before dying.

It is a good way to look at it, in my opinion, that God is the hyperconcentrated essence of mercy. Everything about God's relationship to us--even the stuff which is painful or impossible for us to understand--is borne of that mercy. God's love for us, in particular. God doesn't extend His mercy to us because he loves us, but rather, he extends his love to us because He is infinitely merciful. Mercy does not depend on deserving something or having earned it, in fact, the opposite might be true. We receive mercy because we do not deserve such lenient treatment. If we deserved it, we'd get it without any fuss.

It was this the papacy of John Paul II strove to show the world. To show mercy to one another and therefore become a channel for God's mercy and love.