Tuesday of the 1st Week of Lent

The power of speech is one of the most wonderful gifts God has given us.  Through words we can communicate our deepest thoughts, our hopes, and our joys.  What we say to other people can change completely their attitude towards us and establish a new relationship.

God’s word is found in Sacred Scripture, a word we hear every day at Mass and in the Office.  Through his word God tells us about himself, his thoughts, and his wishes for us.  Through his word he wants to establish a special relationship with us.  And this word of God has real power to accomplish a change in us.  As we heard in the first reading: “the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do”.  And yet the word of God won’t produce its effect in our lives without our co-operation.  We have to at least listen to God’s word actively and attentively, only then we can learn what God is like, how he feels towards us, and what he expects from us.

And God wants to hear our words too.  My own experience is that simple words are best when it comes to prayer.  We don’t need to learn another language or have degrees in theology and philosophy in order to pray.  Simplicity in prayer is what Our Lord had in mind when he said: “In your prayers do not rattle on like the pagans”.  The quality of our prayer doesn’t depend on the number of words spoken, or how much time we devote to prayer, but the quality of our intention behind those words.  The specific prayer Our Lord taught his disciples is intended to be a ‘model’ for all our prayer.  Now obviously Our Lord didn’t mean that the words of the Our Father are the only ones we should use when we pray.  Rather it’s the ‘spirit’ behind those words which counts: a spirit of simplicity, directness, and most of all sincerity.

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