March 3, 2020
There certainly is a link between the liturgical season of Lent and prayer in that Lent calls us to increase our prayer and to pray more “seriously.” So it really makes good sense to pray more during Lent. Our liturgical texts are very rich and this richness is such that they proclaim many themes and memes. In these reflections we will consider the liturgical texts’ emphasis on prayer – and more of it – as an essential part of our Lenten journey.
The Entrance Antiphon (the first one) states that our Christian vocation is to seek the face of God; this text from Psalm 26 indicates that one of the main functions of prayer is to give us the spiritual sight that is pure enough to behold God’s glory manifested in Christ. See also the opening prayer (the collect).
We pray also in order that we can be a life-giving and powerful blessing to all (see the First Reading from Genesis). Our response comes from Psalm 33 and it is a magnificent statement that we are to be faithful to God, we are to hope in God, we are to “wait for God,” and we are to love God since we have and experience God’s steadfast love for us; the last element here is stated three times (remember that repetition in the Bible is a simple way to underline the importance of things in Scripture). Every part of our response in our responsorial psalm is achieved in grace through prayer!
The Second Reading comes to us from Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy. Note in the following words the earth-shaking grace given by God to us in Christ Jesus which is accessed through prayer: “this grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” (Please remember this when the Gospel is proclaimed.)
Prayer also TRANSFIGURES reality for us. Note the following understanding of “transfigure” in The Concise Oxford Dictionary: “change in form or aspect especially as to elevate or idealize.” In the Holy Spirit, let the Gospel’s proclamation transfigure you!
The Communion Antiphon (from Matthew) states “this is my beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” One of the special actions where we do this is in prayer. And the Prayer After Communion states we thank God “for allowing us while on earth to be partakers even now of the things of Heaven” – this is another thing prayer also does for us.
Another gift of prayer that is very powerful is it helps us to refocus on what is important and critical in our lives. During this Lent, may we all do more of this, so help us God!
So pray…pray…pray – and then pray some more this Lent. God bless us all!