March 13, 2022 – Second Sunday of Lent
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/031322.cfm)
Coming back from his desert experience, a holy man was once asked to describe his experience of God. People asked him, “Tell us, how does God look like? How do we recognize God?” But the holy man was so confused, for how can he express to them his experience of God from his heart. Is it possible to articulate to them his God experience in few words? So, he decided to teach them a simple prayer to describe his God experience in the desert, knowing also that this prayer is limited and incomplete. He hoped however that through this simple prayer, people may become more open to experience God for themselves. People then accepted such prayer readily, made it sacred and holy, teach and impose it on others, and preach it to other nations. Some even gave up their lives to spread this Prayer to other people.
The holy man however was so concerned and eventually regretted his actions because many things have been done already to his simple yet incomplete prayer, except to help people experience and encounter God for themselves. He realized eventually that it would have been better if he did not speak at all but stayed silent, than give people a few words of prayer.
Our readings today describe to us what Prayer really is. In our first reading, we come to learn that by listening to God’s will, Abram in prayer received God’s promise of salvation. In our gospel, by accompanying Jesus in prayer, the disciples witnessed and experienced God’s presence & glory. Meaning, in prayer we come to experience God, and it is our experience with Him – the meeting/encounter matters most than the methods and words we used. Words and the manner of praying are just then but helps or avenues towards experiencing God in prayer.
But usually while praying, we become more concerned about the Hows (methods) – on what is the righteous thing to do or say for us to experience God, and like Martha, on what do we have to do or say before the Lord. Remember, however: What God say to us is more important that what we say to Him.” What God wants from us and for us is more important than what we want from Him. What God does to us is more important than what we do to Him. In others words, God’s presence and glory is more important than our presence and glory. Simply put, while praying, God’s agenda and business are more important than our own agenda and business.
Like for instance, while praying the rosary, we find ourselves tired and sleepy or at sleep. And then we find ourselves guilty for losing track or not completing our rosary. Consider perhaps that God is more concerned with our tired souls than completing our rosary. While praying, God is more concern about taking care of our tired and weary souls than we finishing off our rosary. Or at times, while we are praying the Lord’s prayer, we distracted and bothered with the word: “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sinned against us” because we are reminded of people who have hurt and pained us, as well as of people we have hurt and pained. Consider perhaps that those hurtful memories are the very agenda and business God wants us to address at that very moment to be eventually forgiven and healed.
Prayer and praying usually lead us into quiet and silence of our heart, eventually for us to become more open to God’s agenda and business as well as God’s presence. Abram in our first reading and the disciples during the Lord’s transfiguration experienced God’s glory and became sensitive to God’s will because they prayed in silence and open enough to be changed by God’s agenda and business for them.
This Lenten Season, the Holy Church calls us to pray. And in the many ways and words we pray, be reminded that these prayers are just ways and means, but great help and aid for us to experience for ourselves God’s presence and will for us these days. Through our silent prayerful listening anew to God’s word & agenda for us these days is our sure path into our redemption towards God’s glory. As we respond readily to our Father’s call: to “Listen to His beloved Son” may we be, through our prayer and in praying more open and sensitive to experience God’s presence and revelations – greater and better things God in store for us in life ahead. Amen.