February 28, 2012
Tuesday of the First
Week of Lent
José LaBoy, LC
Listen to podcast version here.
Jesus said to his disciples: "In praying, do
not babble like the pagans, who think that they will
be heard because of their many words. Do not be
like them. Your Father knows what you need before you
ask him. This is how you are to pray: Our
Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy
Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it
is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who
trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from evil. If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do
not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."
Introductory Prayer: Lord,
I am aware that you know what is best for
me, and that is why I believe in you. You
are more interested in my spiritual well-being than I am,
and that is why I trust in you. You always
give me your loving forgiveness in spite of my sins,
and that is why I love you.
Petition: Lord, teach me how to
is the Fruit of Silence: Some people like to talk.
They demand to be listened to, but they don’t have
the same interest in listening. However, you usually can’t listen
if you aren’t used to silence. St. Theresa of Calcutta
once wrote that prayer is the fruit of silence. Jesus
wants us to understand that prayer is more about listening
than about talking. When you are with someone who knows
much about a topic that interests you, you limit yourself
to asking questions and dedicate yourself to listening. Jesus is
the revealer of God the Father. That means our main
interest in prayer should be asking Jesus, our Lord, about
his Father and then dedicating ourselves to listening.
2. God is Our Loving
Father: Jesus tells us that God the Father knows what
we need before we ask him. Still, we should ask,
because in asking we become aware that we have needs
that only God our Father can grant us. We learn
to ask God what we most need for our salvation.
That is why Jesus taught us the “Our Father.” Praying
the “Our Father” reminds us that he is the father
of all, and therefore every human person is truly our
brother. In praying the “Our Father,” we essentially ask for
three things: that God have the first place in our
lives, that he give us our material and spiritual sustenance,
and that he grant us his forgiveness.
3. Forgive in Order to Be
Forgiven: Jesus emphasizes the importance of forgiveness. As the First
Letter of John reminds us, we are all sinners (cf.
1:8). One of the essential characteristics of Christian life is
seeking to encounter Christ’s loving mercy. We can really experience
it only when we put it into practice ourselves. We
can admire a person who parachutes off a plane, but
we won’t understand the experience until we skydive ourselves. We
grasp the true meaning of mercy when we forgive others.
Our mercy will not be the same as Christ’s: He
never sinned, and therefore he forgives us even though we
don’t deserve it. If Christ has forgiven us, how can
we dare not to forgive others?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I thank you
for teaching me to pray to the Father. I don’t
always pray as much as I should. Please help me
to pray more and better. Please help me to want
with all my heart to give God the first place
in my life, preferring his will to mine. Help me
to treat others as I would like them to treat
me, forgiving them when they offend me.
Resolution: I will dedicate a specific
time to prayer each day.