Posted by: Thomas Richard | November 11, 2013

Prayer is a Gift Intended to Grow

Living things grow, and develop, and mature.  And a mark of maturity is fruitfulness – an unfolding, a flowering, a quiet revelation of the inner beauty of the thing as it transcends itself.  Prayer is a special example, among the living gifts of God, intended to grow toward maturity and fruitfulness.  Prayer is (as the Catechism teaches, #2558 and following) our relationship with God in Christ.  That relationship, with God’s grace and by His design and intention, is meant to grow and to bear fruit.

As time goes on, as I see more and more of the ways of the world and as I am called deeper and deeper into the ways of God, this becomes increasing clear to me: His Church, His holy and beautiful Bride, His living Body still on this earth, has been given an awesome and crucial task.  The Church was sent as light into the world – a world growing darker and darker, closer and closer to cataclysm, to epic disaster, to final climax.  Yes, I know that “the end is near” has been shouted for millennia now!  And it has been true for millennia, and it remains true today.  These are the last days, the last days which began at Pentecost when the Church was first sent out to the dark and confused world with the Good News of Light, of eternal Life in Christ.

The mission is not new, the message is not new, the impoverished and starving audience is not new, the One Holy Source of the Good News is eternal!  His living water is still flowing from His Sacred Heart, through His pierced side, flowing out for the good and for the salvation of the whole world.  The messenger sent – His Holy Church – is not new either, but she is in profound need of deep and true renewal.  She is as if asleep, as if unable to see, or respond.  Christ in the garden, seeking prayer-communion with His Father in the shadow of the Cross drawing near, warned His disciples: “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”  (Lk 22:40)  He knew the Cross was near – at the very door.  He knew the need of His Church: prayer!    He Himself knelt down and entered the agony bound together with love, His Self-offering.  He found them not praying, but sleeping.  He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Lk 22:46)

The Church needs prayer.  Each one of us needs to grow in prayer.  Prayer is union with God.  (John Vianney) Prayer is our relationship with God in Christ.  Prayer is our communion with the Spirit, our living water in the barren desert of man apart from God.  We need to find that communion, and remain in it – in Him, our very life.

New Article on Prayer – Catholic Exchange

The on-line magazine Catholic Exchange has published now two of my articles on prayer – the first one, Grow in Christ, Marriage & Prayer, and now a second one, Ways to Grow in Prayer.  I invite you all to read them both and to add your thoughts and comments, which I always appreciate very much.


  1. Dear Thomas,

    Thank you for the excellent article. As you already know, my health is deteriorating and spend very little time corresponding, even with my wife. 🙂

    Thank you for the encouraging words.

    Regards to you both and may God bless and keep you.


    • Hello Gene – Thank you for reading and responding to the article. Yes, I have heard of your health difficulties. Deborah and I have prayed for you, for the Lord’s grace and strength in this time of trial.

      It is good that you are continuing to engage with the concerns of the Church, and concerns for the Church, even as your personal health is challenging you at the same time. As you are concerned for the health of the Body of the Lord, His Church, you can be sure that the Lord is concerned for the health of your body as well! He knows our trials and difficulties, and He has promised to be with us, all the days.

      May the Lord continue to bless you and guard you in His sacred heart.


  2. Dear Thomas,

    Thanks again for reminding us: nothing is more important than prayer, our relationship with God. If we neglect prayer, we neglect the “one thing needful” about which Jesus warned Martha.

    Many of us are like Martha — clergy, religious and laity– so busy about serving we get anxious and troubled. Jesus did not negate the beautiful work of service, but He warned Martha and us, in love: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful…” (Luke 10:41-42)

    We can get anxious and troubled and complain to Jesus as Martha did, but we need to pay attention, as Martha learned to do. Jesus repeated her name twice to emphasize (it seems to me) she needed to hear something very important. Important because Jesus knows: without Him we can do nothing! If we do not learn to know Him in prayer, if we do not grow in our relationship with Him, we will do nothing. Our work is useless without our union with Him. If we want Church renewal, each of us needs to be renewed in prayer.

    How terrible to be among the foolish virgins who heard: “I do not know you”. The door to the Wedding Feast was not opened for them! In the concluding verses of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus gave a similar warning:

    “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
    And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’ (Mt 7: 21- 23).

    By God’s Grace, may we pay attention to Jesus and learn from His Holy Spirit, to pray well, that we may truly serve in union with Him. May His Light shine through us on a dark world. May we live in Him eternally with all the children of Our Father in Heaven.

  3. Beautiful.

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