Friday, February 13, 2009

THE WARNING: PRAYER ALLOWS GOD TO ACT

Prayer allows God to act in the world. It is our world because He has given us dominion over it. But He wants us to invite Him in turn to be Lord over it, so that His dominion and ours will be shared, as between Father and Son. He will never act in us coercively, but only with complete respect for our freedom---the gift that makes us fully human and most like Him. If He is to act in our hearts, then we must give Him that freedom by our surrender, in faith, to His reign. The kingdom will come on earth only when we let it in, for the reign of God is a rulership over hearts which are free. Only prayer so liberates our hearts that we can give them over completely to Him and His reign. Mary understands this well because she experienced it all in her own Heart, an Immaculate Heart having no resistance in it to God. She is full of love, given over completely to the reign of God. She is like this not only because God gave her the grace to become so, but because she prayed, and let the Father always do with her as He willed. "Be it done unto me according to your word," she told Him. She knows, because it happened to her, that God pours His love abundantly into the hearts of those who open to Him in prayer. She understands from her own life that prayer is the answer to all the ills of the world. So she recommends it to us. She often commanded the visionaries of Garabandal to pray the Rosary, the childlike, earthy prayer which symbolizes the need we have for littleness. She reveals to Lucy of Fatima that God has endowed the Rosary with special power in modern times; that when we pray with the Rosary, she will hear our prayers. The Rosary is the central item on the prayer-program the Blessed Virgin urges upon the world. But it is not the only form of prayer that she recommends. Of the children of Fatima, Francisco is rapidly drawn into deep contemplation during and after the apparitions, and given the task of "consoling God"; Jacinta is almost obsessed with a divine passion to intercede for sinners and for the Holy Father; Lucy remains on earth for a lengthy contemplative-like apostolate of keeping the message of Fatima alive and of spreading devotion to the Immaculate Heart. They all pray the Rosary, but other forms of prayer emerge as well in their spiritual life. It is not so much a special kind of prayer that makes the difference (although Mary does insist on the Rosary), but prayer itself that is most important.

[To be continued . . .]

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