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Come to Me and I Will Give You Rest: Impractical People Needed

By Deacon Keith Fournier
July 19th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

I am frequently asked what I think is the greatest need in the Church today. Because of my work, people presume how I will answer. They expect me to be what they perceive to be action oriented.  My answer is simple. "The greatest need in the Church today is people who pray", I respond.

CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - Our Gospel today is short, but profoundly beautiful:  Jesus said: "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." (Mt. 11:28-30)

I needed these words this morning. Life can certainly become burdensome at times. We all know this is true. However, those of us who bear the name Christian know the One to whom we can always turn, the Lord Jesus.he says to each of us this morning, "Come to Me".

Throughout the biblical accounts of the earthly ministry and life of Jesus we can discover, in his Sacred Humanity, the path to finding true rest. He was regularly in prayer. He lived in a continual communion with the Father. He now gives us the grace we need to live in the same way. 

His prayer opened the heavens, brought provision to the hungry, gave Him clarity for making decisions and brought the glory of heaven to earth. Prayer still does all of this, and more, for those who will learn to live their lives immersed in God and study in its classroom.

I am frequently asked what I think is the greatest need in the Church today. Because of my work, people presume how I will answer. They expect me to be what they perceive to be action oriented.  My answer is simple. "The greatest need in the Church today is people who pray", I respond.

I recently read that one of my personal heroes, and one of the great treasures of the Church in our age, Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, will soon be beatified. He was a close friend and confidante of St. Josemaria Escriva. Like his friend, the Bishop was a man of true holiness, the kind only formed through living in an intimate communion with the Lord.

He once wrote: "The so-called "practical people" are not really the most useful in the service of Christ's Church, nor are those who merely expound theories. Rather it is the true contemplatives who best serve her; those with the steady, generous and passionate desire of transfiguring and divinizing all creation with Christ and in Christ. It may sound paradoxical, but in the Church of Jesus Christ, the mystic is the only practical person"

Through prayer we can recover the capacity for an intimate communion of love with the living God and plunge ourselves into its embrace. Prayer is a process of Love exchanged for love. In its classroom we learn how to live in this communion throughout the day and in all circumstances.

Jesus was, in the words of the ancient creed, "true God and true man". Sometimes we think that He could pray and live this way "because He was Divine." However, we need to remember that in his sacred humanity he prayed. He shows us the fullness of humanity and calls us to become what spiritual writers have long called "sons (and daughters) in the Son."

Through prayer we can now cry out with Jesus, "Abba Father." No longer alienated from God, we can actually participate in the very life of the Trinity, the inner life of God. God dwells in us and we dwell in Him through His Spirit. This is the heart of true prayer.

Prayer is not about doing or getting but rather about being, receiving, giving, and loving. Prayer is the path to communion through Jesus Christ with the Father, in Jesus Christ with one another, and in the Trinitarian God with the world which He created and is recreating and redeeming in Christ.

All of this is made possible through the Holy Spirit who invites us - right now - into to the very inner life of the Trinity, through prayer. The good Bishop was right; we need impractical people, who pray. Let us hear the invitation this morning and Come to Jesus.

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