Make time to pray

Fresco of Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor, 1860, by Franz Josef Dobiaschofsky in Altlerchenfelder church in Vienna. — Credit: SHUTTERSTOCK

As I write, we are preparing for the Feast of the Transfiguration.

It’s a beautiful story, one of the “luminous mysteries” of our Lord’s earthly life, and we all know it well.

Jesus climbs the high mountain with three disciples and there they see him transfigured. His face shines like the sun. His clothes turn white as light. God’s voice from heaven commands them, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.”

In this brief moment, we get to see the end of our path, the “destination” of our Christian journey. Jesus “transfigured” points us to the hope of our resurrection, when he will change our own lowly bodies to be like his glorified body.

But the Transfiguration also gives us a picture of what it means to pray.

It’s interesting that when the transfiguration ends and the bright cloud in the sky moves away, the apostles are left standing there, alone with Jesus. In fact, the Gospel says: “And when they raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.”

We all want to see Jesus, just as the apostles did on that holy mountain. We all want to gaze on the face of the living God. To speak to him, to ask him questions, to listen for his voice. And we can do that through prayer.

What a privilege we have to be able to pray!

Think about what it means to say that we can speak and listen to God. He is the One who made the universe, the sun and stars, and all the planets.

Prayer means that we can speak to the God of all creation — and know that he is listening. And know that he knows who we are, and where we live, and what we hope for.

So we all need to make prayer the first priority in our lives.

Jesus made time for prayer. Throughout the Gospels, we see him stepping away from the crowds and away from his disciples, to spend time alone with God in prayer. He did this to give us an example.

So we need to make time every day to build our friendship with God. The saints tell us that this relationship only grows in silence, when we can settle our hearts and minds to talk to God and listen to him in the silence of our hearts.

That’s hard for us to do. It takes practice. Our world is busy, noisy, filled with distractions. It’s not easy for any of us to just “be still.” But we can find time, as Jesus did, even just a few minutes at the beginning and end of every day, to be quiet and to be with God.  

Prayer does not have to be complicated. We don’t need fancy language or big words. No matter how smart we are, God will not be impressed by our theology! He is looking for our sincerity and our humility, for our simple desire to know his will and to do it.

Jesus taught us to pray as children talking to our father. Prayer simply means talking to our Father and letting him talk to us.

We all need to set aside some quiet moments during the day to focus just on prayer. But we can pray all day long.

We can go through our days with Jesus as our friend, talking to him, telling him what’s on our minds and in our hearts.

When you start a new task, offer it to God. When you finish your work, thank God for his help and his love. Everything we do can begin with prayer and end with prayer.

Tell God your joys and struggles and hopes. Don’t be afraid to talk to him about the things that make you worried or scared. Ask him to help you make decisions and what the right thing to do is. Ask him for the grace to live a good life and to do good for others.

And we can be confident that God is always listening. He hears everything! He wants to be in the center of our lives!

Our relationship of prayer is meant to “transfigure” us. Praying as sons and daughters of God, we grow more and more in the image of Jesus, the Son of God.

When we pray, we hear the voice of God calling us to do great things with our lives. To change this world. To make this world more caring, more compassionate, more peaceful, with more justice.

So this week, let’s try to focus more on our life of prayer. Pray for me, and know that I am praying for you.

And let’s ask our Blessed Mother Mary to pray for us, that we might learn to pray as she did, with our hearts open to know the living God.

 

Archbishop Gomez’s CPA Award-winning book, “Immigration and the Next America,”is available at the Cathedral Gift Shop (www.olacathedralgifts.com/immigrationandthenextamericarenewingthesoulofournation.aspx). Follow him at www.facebook.com/ArchbishopGomez.


Voices

Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”

Events

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February 13, 2016

  • Saturday, February 13

    World Day of the Sick Mass, Mass and Anointing of the Sick, 12:30 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,  555 W Temple St, Los Angeles. Archbishop Gomez presiding with other bishops and priests. Special section designated for those in wheelchairs with volunteers available to help. Limited parking available for $8. Carpooling is encouraged. For more info: Chuck Huebner at cjhuebner @gmail.com or Jim LoCoco at flavialococ0@msn.com.

     

     

    Bosco Tech’s Yurak Memorial Run & Kids’ Fun Run, Check in begins at 8 a.m., Memorial Run at 9 a.m., Fun Run at 10 a.m., Bosco Tech, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead. Race registration is $35 per person. For school groups of 10 or more, the cost is $30. To register online, go to www.boscotech.edu/events or www.yurak.eventbrite.com; same-day registration available at check-in table. Included: racing fees, finisher medal, goodie bag and BBQ lunch. Plaques will be awarded to the top five male and female runners and to the fastest runner under 18.All proceeds to benefit Bosco Tech’s Yurak Athletic Center (YAC). 

     

    Cabrini Literary Guild “Sweetheart Bingo” Meeting, Sat., Feb.13 at Oakmont Country Club, 3100 Country Club Drive, Glendale. Meeting starts at 11 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m. ($30/person), and bingo social at 1 p.m. Bingo cards are $5 each, or $20 for five cards. For reservations, call (818) 790-3485.

     

    Footprints: Making Tracks for Neighbors in Need, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m., Bishop Amat High School track, 14301 Fairgrove Ave., La Puente. Catholic Charities San Gabriel Region will present this annual walk/run fundraiser to increase awareness about poverty, hunger and homelessness in the San Gabriel Region. Proceeds benefit those lacking basic needs, such as food, clothing, transportation and shelter. This is a come anytime, leave anytime event, with the first lap around the track to be led by Bishop David O'Connell. For more information, visit lentenfootprints.yolasite.com or contact Mary Romero at (213) 251-3582 or mromero@ccharities.org.

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