Monday, 14 December 2009

P.R.A.Y. our way to "Yes"!

Saying “Yes” to God

A Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Luke 1:39-45

It’s not easy saying “yes” to God. It’s never been easy. God asks a lot of those who pray daily “thy will be done”. He asks more from those who live it. How can we be ready when God asks our obedience, in small or grand ways? How can we get to a life of faithful obedience in God, like Mary? Most of what God asks of us may not seem so dramatic, but it can be every bit as life changing, as challenging and as important to our salvation. Here’s a simple acronym for saintly obedience that I think will help us to get to where we need to be. We use the four letters of the word “pray”. P.R.A.Y.

P – Prepare, ponder and pray. Especially pray. Mary was clearly a prayerful woman; in fact some of the words she speaks in the Magnificat are taken right out of the Old Testament books and from some of the psalms. Whatever else we know about Mary, we know she was a prayerful woman who prayed with the scriptures. We can pray the scriptures – perhaps a few verses of the Word, or even just few words. Be still. This is the sort of thing we might do on a retreat, but we can also do at home or in the quiet of our Church before Mass begins. Prayer is a communication that isn’t all about just asking for something, although that is part of it. Prayer is a good time for thanksgiving and praise, but also for expressing fear or anger or confusion, just the way you’d speak to your father or your very good friend.

R – read and reflect. We can read God’s word in the bible, and we should be getting our sustenance more often than once a week at Church. It’s OK to pick up the bible! But there are also good books that help us to understand the words in the bible, and my own preference is books that are scripture based. None of that Chicken Soup crap or internet "lump-in-my-throat, send this to your friends" nonsense for me. The Word is not meant to be an anesthetic for the pains of life. Sometimes the Word comforts us in time of sorrow, but sometimes the Word challenges and make us very uncomfortable. In reflecting on God’s word in a prayerful way, we prepare our hearts for the gift of obedience.

A - Act. We know what is right and wrong, in our hearts, and so we are called to be good Christians, good Catholics every day and every moment. There is a principle of Social Justice that says we are to See, Judge and Act. A thoughtful and prayerful Catholic need not be afraid to stand for what is right. If not us, who? All of this leads to the last letter in the word PRAY – Y.

Y is for Yes. Yes Lord. I’ll do it. Yes to your church through active participation in the Mass and in ministry. Yes to being a member of an imperfect congregation. Yes to my faith, not just the sacraments but definitely the sacraments, but weekly and daily and every moment. Yes to Jesus in spite of all worldly evidence to the contrary. Yes to the Eucharistic sacrifice for us.

P-R-A-Y. Pray, reflect, act and, “Yes".

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