Monday, February 22, 2010

A Season of Prayer - 2nd Sunday of Lent, February 28, 2010

Reflections on the Readings
Second Sunday of Lent - February 28, 2010, Year C
By Dennis Hankins

A Season of Prayer

...But we were eyewitnesses of his majesty...for we were with him on the holy mountain. (2 Peter 1:16-18)

Lent brings us into a season of prayer and asks us to bring ourselves more fully to prayer.  Now that sounds like a tall order, and next to impossible given our noisy and busy schedules.  But I suspect that there are many who will choose during Lent to become more intense and intentional in their communion with the Father.

St. Irenaeus, a Father of the Church, stated that in proportion to God's need of nothing is man's need for communion with God.  Imagine God needing anything that we could provide him. Now think about how much we need God and his friendship.  It is this God of love who will befriend us, because he delights in all of his creation, especially you and me.  

We often speak of giving up something for Lent, and there is much truth to that.  For example, fasting typically means to give up eating or eating something in particular.  There is another aspect to Lent that has to do with what it is we can give.  

Will I make a concentrated effort to say words of encouragement or support?  

Will I be more gracious in giving others the benefit of the doubt?  

Will I give myself more to prayer?

We might protest and ask, "Will giving myself to a season of prayer make any difference?

Let's review the gospel reading.

Peter, John, and James were with the Master on the mountain.  It was a time Jesus had set apart to pray.  This inner circle of disciples who joined Jesus on this occasion, became a little tired in the process.  However, the effects of that time with Jesus on that holy mountain never left them.  Peter in particular spoke of that time saying, "We saw his majesty." That was not all.  He also said we heard the voice coming from the Majestic Glory saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

Now, they may not have told anyone at the time about that mountain top experience.  In time Peter wrote about it saying we were there.(1)
It was a season of prayer that brought into focus for these disciples about who Jesus is.  That is what praying does.  

It realigns us with the divine.  
It reorients us to the eternal.  
It restores our soul.  

You might say our spiritual GPS gets reset and we get back on the right track. 

Our son, Timothy, likes the way praying the Rosary gives prayer a path and a rhythm.  I remember the first time I attempted to pray the Rosary.  I thought how in the world would you ever get people to do this?  It seemed dull and repetitious.  Then something happened in that moment that I cannot put into words. My soul felt the eternal pleasure this prayer brings both here and in heaven.  I saw with the eyes of my heart something of the majesty of this way of praying.

Now, I understand that this is not the only way to pray.  I remember my daddy sharing about when he was being interviewed by the Board of Ordained Ministry in the United Methodist Church.  They were concerned about his Pentecostal background and how he would handle his belief and experience of speaking in tongues.  Daddy was forthright and responded to their concern, stating he could not deny what God had done for him. However, he also said that he would never push it on anybody, but he highly recommended it.  So when it comes to praying in tongues or praying the Rosary, I'll simply say I recommend it.

Whatever way you pray, give more time to it during this holy season of prayer.  Along with what I've already said, there is also the Jesus Prayer(2), the Liturgy of the Hours(3), the Lord's Prayer, and prayer and meditation before the Tabernacle or in the Adoration Chapel.  

In all the ways you may pray, be sure to invite the Holy Spirit saying, "Come Holy Spirit and kindle in me the fire of your love."

For the Church, the height of prayer is that which occurs at this Altar.  For it is here today we come to another mountain, Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering...and to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant.(4)
Today let us feast together in this season of prayer, and receive this bread which is his body and this wine which his blood.  Amen.

Let us pray: Father, your ear is not deaf to our prayers.  Forgive us for not talking to you more often, more deeply, more honestly.  Give us a renewed sense of your presence in this season of prayer which we make in the name of Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

2 Peter 1:16-18
2 Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
3 For the Liturgy of the Hours
4 Hebrews 12:22-23

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