God hears the cry of the poor… 23Oct2016

Divine Mercy image (3) (2)“Penetrate into the spirit of My poverty and arrange everything in such a way that the most destitute will have no reason to envy you. I find pleasure, not in large buildings and magnificent structures, but in a pure and humble heart.”

Jesus’ words to St. Faustina as recorded in her Diary, par. 532

 

There is a certain poverty of heart required for prayer to reach Our Father because prayer is a two-way process. It does not proceed on its own but requires a lifting up and a drawing out on the part of God. I pray because my soul desires God but this desire comes from His own attraction to my soul and His attraction is effective only if the heart of my soul is poor in spirit, hungry for God’s life, desiring to taste and see His goodness. To acknowledge my own poverty, my own hunger, my own desire and my own need for God’s compassion and mercy is the beginning of prayer. To admit that I have nothing He needs but He has everything I need is a poverty of heart exposed to prayer.

We can easily identify the Pride of the Pharisee whose prayer is addressed “to himself.” I would never pray like that and yet how often do I open my heart and, like Paul, pour out my life to God like a libation. Sirach tells us that, The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal, nor will it withdraw till the Most high responds.

St. Augustine points out that our free will alone is not enough to choose God and His Will. Just as my senses draw me to a tantalizing food, even though I may not be hungry, so too my Creator draws my soul to Himself and my heart is restless until it rests in Him. The late Hans Urs Von Balthasar compares this mutual attraction to the gaze of a mother on her newborn child. Her face is full of love, self-sacrifice and a caring desire to nurture this little one so poor and needy. The child, in turn, is drawn to her gaze, feels her love and, in desiring her closeness, begins to love. I can love because I am loved first by God. When I allow His gaze to pierce my poverty of heart, then I can begin to learn to pray with a loving heart.

Deacon Richard

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