Like a Praying Mantis: Reflection from Hunt Valley
During one of my meditations on Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament at Hunt Valley a couple of days ago, I heard the Lord say to me in the interior of my mind: “I desire a praying parish.” Part of our mission as a parish is sharing “the good news of Jesus Christ through prayer….” Are we living out our mission to the best of our ability? We need to be intentional and faithful to our communal and individual prayers if we are to be effective in bearing witness to the Gospel. To keep our praying hands steady in the manner Moses’ raised hands remained steady in prayers till sunset in the battle against the Amalek (Exodus 17: 8-13), it must be anchored firm in faith. Praying persistently is only possible when faith is the foundation, a faith with no room for doubt (James 1:6). Jesus instructs us “to pray always without becoming weary” (Lk 18:1). It is necessary that we pray without ceasing. It is only when we pray with faith that we can sustain a life of consistent prayer, a consistency rooted in stillness before the Lord. Jesus is always with us in his real presence in the tabernacles of our churches. We are called to cultivate the habit of the praying mantis, in stillness and silence in the sacred places of our parish church and the domestic church as well-the family at home. The parish prays in the church as Eucharistic people and extends the prayer to the domestic church, the family at home and wherever they find themselves. We take Jesus with us everywhere we go. In practical ways, we sustain our praying mantis mode by a realization that prayer is a part of our daily life, not a compartmentalized practice carried out only at Sunday Mass. Consequently, we have to make a commitment to pray at fixed times and at a designated place in our homes, and our prayer must be inspired by the Holy Spirit who teaches us to pray, for we do not know how to pray (Rom 8: 26-27) . I desire that we become more and more a praying parish where adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is central and devotion to the Holy Rosary of the BVM is a norm. Thanks to those who make our monthly parish Adoration hour possible by attending and those who pray the rosary for life after the 8:30 am mass during Respect Life month in October. I desire with Jesus that we don’t get weary of praying. Can you commit extra time to joining the parish at prayer beyond the Sunday mass you attend? As parents, have you considered starting a daily family morning or/and night prayer?
Yours in prayer,
Fr. Bernard Oniwe, OP