Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Scriptural Readings: 2 Corinthians 11:1-11; Psalm 111:1b-2, 3-4, 7-8; Matthew 6:7-15
My dear encountered couples:
“In your prayer do not rattle on like the pagans. They think they will win a hearing by the sheer multiplication of words.”
Jesus is not saying we shouldn’t pray the rosary or recite a litany or keep repeating certain prayers and petitions over and over. He just wants us to know it is not the number of prayers or words in themselves that is going to get the results we want. It is the heart behind the words that counts. It is the sincerity, the honesty, the earnestness, the genuineness in our prayers that makes for good results.
We can say a thousand Hail Marys’ and Our Fathers if we want, as long as each time we say one we mean what we say with love. There are no magic formulas that are going to convince heaven to do things your way. There is only magic in the love behind the words of the formula that will produce the hoped-for effects. And those effects will take place in us not in God.
God already loves you. God is already trying his darndest to bring more good into your life than you need. But he can’t do that unless you are ready and open to receive it. Your words are not to convince him of anything, they are supposed to convince you of your need for him and move you to open your life to his Spirit. If we listen long enough to the words of our own prayers, hopefully we will be the ones who are changed; hopefully we will open ourselves to embrace God and all his gifts. Like a sunbather is changed externally by the sun in the sky, the person who prays sincerely is changed internally by the Son of God in heaven. Pray all the prayers you want. Just try to mean what you say, and with love.