Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again…Because a vision softly creeping left its seeds while I was sleeping…And the vision that was planted in my brain still remains…Within the sounds of Silence. Simon & Garfunkel!
The fruit of silence is prayer and the fruit of prayer is peace. St. Mother Teresa from her wonderful writing: The Simple Path.
All through her life, even in the darkest of times, the driest of times, St. Mother Teresa persevered in prayer. She did not just pray. She persevered in prayer.
As people of faith we are called to persevere in prayer, seeking out silence and growth in faith.
Jesus tells us a two person parable; an unjust judge and a persistent widow. The judge is a Roman Magistrate; a judge for hire, notorious, on the lookout for the next bribe. Remember his own words declaring he has no fear of God and no respect for man. The widow represents the poor; defenseless and often one others take advantage of. Yet she is also persistent and in the case we have before us today, persistent to the point of getting what she needs even from an unjust judge.
Jesus teaches us by this parable that His Father, our Heavenly Father, who being both rich in mercy and justice, will give us what we need, even if it is not what we want, if we persist in prayer. Our prayer must also always ask humbly to conform to the will of the Father. We know that God answers prayers sometimes with a yes, or a no or even not now.
Praying is simply put a conversation between us and God, lifting our hearts and minds to Him. Yet it seems to be far from simple these days. To persevere in prayer we first must make time to pray, perhaps seeking that silence in which to pray. It should be daily, and many times throughout our daily existence. It can be formal, or informal. At Mass, we are called to actively participate in the prayer life of the Church, responding in faith. We are called to pray for those who have asked us for prayers and those who have not.
As we persevere in prayer we should always remember to praise and worship God even when asking Him for what is our greatest need. And we should always thank the Father for whatever His answer may be. As we persevere in prayer we may also learn to persevere in accepting God’s will for us and for those we bring to Him in prayer. I’m thinking here of St. Monica who persevered in prayer for many years for her son, Augustine, who went from no faith to great faith and is a Saint and most important Church Father. Also persevering in prayer is exactly the example we have in today's 1st reading; Moses hands lifted in pray and when he grew weary, others helped him to lift his arms in prayer. When we grow weary, we can ask others to help us persevere in prayer.
In the week ahead can we focus on our own perseverance in prayer?
First, pray for today's Church intention: World Mission Sunday. The work of missions is very important but we all here are missionaries. By virtue of our Baptism we are missionaries and should do our mission work right where we are; at home or work or here in the community. And can we add a prayer for the Church herself, always under attack, from within and without?
And then maybe we can sit and pray, in silence, with the beautiful Simple Path of St. Teresa of Calcutta, Mother Teresa:
The fruit of silence is prayer
The fruit of prayer is faith
The fruit of faith is love
The fruit of love is service
The fruit of service is peace.
The vision planted in my brain still remains,,,Within the sounds of Silence:
Prayer – Faith – Love – Service – Peace, and it all begins with prayer!