Sunday, September 4, 2011

Praying In Jesus' Name


Living alone it can be very easy to become isolated. When I was in the midst of going through separation and eventually divorce from my former spouse, every priest I talked with told me to be sure I developed a network of friends who were of like mind and faith. They knew something I didn't at that time~the importance of praying  for and with others. They also knew that as my life seemed to be falling apart, I would need not only my individual faith, but that of others.
I have often heard it said that we are made for community, for relationship. While I may live alone, I certainly am not alone. God, in His grace, has provided me with spiritual friends and family. The regulars at the 7am Mass I attend each day will worry and want to know where I have been if I don't show up for a day or two. The friends I have made through the healing ministry of Rachel's Vineyard have been a life line of friendship and support, and then there are all of you in the Catholic blogging community who edify me and support me in my faith every time I visit one of your blogs, or read your encouraging and kind comments on my own.
The point of all this is not simply to tell you more of my own story, but to illustrate the point of today's Mass readings. We are not to harden our hearts when we hear God call us to love and action (see Psalm 95), but rather He wants us to know that we are responsible not only for our own salvation, but that of others as well. Willing and wanting the salvation of others is part of loving our neighbor, sometimes this is referred to as zeal for souls.
Ezekiel's words in today's first reading are not easy ones to live out, but in many respects, we are our brothers and sisters' keepers. We do need to tell our friends and families when they are not living according to the Gospel; we are to do it lovingly and mercifully. I have had to do this in my own life and have come up against a few hardened hearts. A parent who has told me that I take my faith to seriously, a sibling who becomes defensive and uncomfortable when I speak out against abortion or cohabitation. I speak when I have to, but sometimes I know that words can do more harm than good, so in those times I remember Jesus' words of promise in today's Gospel: "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst." When words fail, prayer in Jesus'name never does, and praying with others for a common cause has tremendous power; there truly is strength in numbers.
Individual prayer is good and necessary, but so is praying in community. So let us do as the psalmist says and kneel before the Lord and worship; let us pray not only for and by ourselves, but for and with each other.

4 comments:

Colleen said...

Karinann, this is a really beautiful reflection. I am an introvert and tend to be a loner. But I also have found community in ways I least expected it. And your comment about being loving when we need to teach or correct others - so true. It is that love that can make all the difference. Thanks and God bless!

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Great post and ... it set me thinking. (I can see you rolling your eyes, Karinann).

You say we should pray for each other. Is there a way I wonder whereby we can set up a prayer ring where we pray for each other as Bloggers - using the Community of Catholic Bloggers perhaps? Just thinking aloud. Haven't worked out how it would work. You know ... where two or more are gathered together ...

Oh by the way. I just noted on the right column your link for books by Bloggers. Thanx for adding my books to your list. Very much appreciated.

God bless you.

Karinann said...

Colleen,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one. While I usually prefer praying alone, it is nice to pray as part of a group every now and then,

Thanks Victor and you are welcome for the links in the Books by Bloggers. Check your e-mail for my thoughts on the prayer ring.

Michael said...

Honored to be in your community :)

God Bless you.

Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.