Saint Josaphat, an Eastern Rite bishop, honoured as a martyr to church unity because he died trying to bring part of the Orthodox Church into union with Rome. He was canonised in 1867 and became the first member of the Eastern Church to be formally canonised as a saint of the Latin Church.
Saint Francis of Assisi has been credited with saying: Pray always; and if necessary, use words. For Saint Francis, as of course for Our Lord himself, prayer was not so much saying prayers and multiplying words, as it was an attitude towards life. Everything they experienced, everything they saw, touched and tasted, were signs of the sacred, signs of God’s presence.
So, when Our Lord challenges us to pray always he is not suggesting that we spend whole days or nights on our knees, but that we see all of life as holy; praying continually simply means being constantly aware of God’s presence in our lives.
But Our Lord also tells us that sometimes we need to make a special effort to storm heaven with our prayers for a particular need. The second half of his challenge is to not lose heart when we pray. We have all been in situations where the answer to our prayers seems to take forever. The widow’s continued badgering of the judge is a lesson to us at those times. With such persistence we too can accomplish equity and justice in the world. There are two lessons, then, in today’s gospel: Pray always, and never lose heart.