Newsletter for Sunday 20 October 2019

21 Oct

Be Persistent in Your Prayer

Today’s readings are about being persistent in prayer. In the First Reading from Exodus 17, Israel is at war with the Amalekites who are much stronger, and so a lot of prayer was needed. Moses had to persevere in keeping his hands raised, because as soon as he lowered them the Amalekites gained the upper hand, and when he raised them up, Israel was victorious. This can be a metaphor for our prayer and our spiritual state: when we keep our hands raised up in prayer before God, we will have the victory, but when we don’t, we become lax and lukewarm and our spiritual life deteriorates rapidly. When this happens, one of the best things we can do is to go to Confession. To kneel down and humbly ask for God’s mercy can turn our spiritual lives around.

We should also notice in this reading that Joshua and his army didn’t go into battle until after Moses had raised up his hands. Do we not often run into making big decisions without first praying, without first talking to God about it? Prayer needs to precede and have a priority over and before action. We often end up doing things we later come to regret because we haven’t first prayed.

However, it is certain that prayer changes things. The prayer of the Holy Rosary gave the Christians the victory against Islam against all the odds in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, which basically saved Europe for Christendom. Pope St Pius V had the whole of Christendom praying the Rosary for this intention. Our Lady of Fatima at each apparition begged us to say the Rosary. I am sure that I owe my priestly vocation to the secret prayers of many, and most of them I will probably never know about in this life. When hopefully, we arrive in Heaven we will no doubt find out what a difference prayer made to us and the difference our prayers made to others. Perhaps one of the sufferings of Purgatory will be to see how our failure to pray had negative effects and that it’s only by the mercy of God that utter disaster was avoided.

So always remember the power of prayer. Stay on your knees beseeching God. Pray for your families, pray for your priests and bishops and pray for the Church, that the terrible moral and spiritual crisis we are going through at the moment, both in the Church and in the world (when the Church is in crisis, so will the world be) will be healed, and that the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary prophesied by Our Lady at Fatima will arrive very soon.

Fr Paul Gillham, IC

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