Monday, February 10, 2014
Our Mother Tongue
The day before the Lord Jesus had been in Simon Peter's house. He spent the day healing the multitudes and casting out demons. So the next day He rises before dawn - that is, while it is still dark - and went to a deserted place. He got away from everyone in order to pray. This is a distinguishing feature of the Lord Jesus' life. He prays regularly. Raised in a pious home He was taught to pray. And though He has great compassion on the people that come to Him, He still makes the effort to pray.
Do we think about God as One who prays? Well here we have God Incarnate, that is, the Word Made Flesh. God has become a human being just like us, except without sin. So what the evangelist St. Mark is showing us is how a real Man lives. It seems like it's just a glimpse, because soon the disciples track Him down and off they go to continue the Lord's mission of preaching and casting out demons. But we definitely see the One who is God praying, and it is because He is God's Son, and it is because His is a real Man.
And that is the stage upon which we join the Lord Jesus. We are fallen men and women, but Christ died to cancel our fall, rose to initialize our new life, and in the Church has adopted us into the family of God. In Christ we are real Men and real Women - truly Man as He is. So where is prayer in our life? Our life is hidden in Christ, who has ascended to heaven to rule, to fill all things. So that is where our conversation belongs - in Christ, in heaven.
Earthly life demands much from us without us being famous or working miracles as it was with our Lord. Do we talk to God? The Church has given us the words, which hearken back to our Lord's own instructions to say, "Our Father...," and use the same psalms and Scriptures He used in His earthly prayers. But do we put forth the effort? And when life gets in the way, do we push back to make sure the conversation between our souls and heaven itself does not fall away?
We have been given a great gift in Christ, in Baptism, in the Church. The fullness of the kingdom of heaven is entrusted to us for our benefit. But we can lose track of it. We can bury it. We can disregard it. And we can cover it up so that it makes no difference in our life. If we pray, though, as our Lord prayed, this cannot happen. It is the soul that becomes numb to God without us knowing, and it is prayer that keeps the soul warm through closeness to God, if you will.
A lot can be said about prayer, but I only wish to say that a Christian cannot rightly omit it. If prayer is missing from our homes, then our homes lack Christianity in some sense. The Lord Jesus knows it takes effort to maintain a prayer life! But it is how we learn the language of heaven and make that blessed place's language our mother tongue. Amen.