The Path of Life

The Path of Life

Monday, May 7, 2012

The power of prayer

 From this morning's second reading at Vigils and Lauds:

Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. (cf. James 5:12-20)

Saint James seems to imply in these words that religious worship supplies all our spiritual needs. Prayer and praise seem in his view to be a universal remedy.

Indisposition of body shows itself in a pain somewhere or other--a distress, which draws our thoughts to it, centers them upon it, impedes our ordinary way of going on, and throws the mind off its balance. Such, too, is the indisposition of the soul, of whatever sort, be it passion or affection, hope or fear, joy or grief. It takes us off from the clear contemplation of the next world, ruffles us, and makes us restless. In a word, it is what we call an excitement of mind. Amusements are excitements: the applause of a crowd, emulations, hopes, risks, quarrels, contests, disappointments, successes. In such cases, the object pursued naturally absorbs the mind, and excludes all thoughts but those relating to itself. Thus a person is sold over into bondage to this world. He has one idea, and one only before him, which becomes his idol. Day by day, he is engrossed by this one thing, to which his heart pays worship.

Now, then, observe the remedy offered by Saint James. It breaks the current of worldly thoughts. Regular worship interferes with the urgency of worldly excitements.

Let us pray. Doubt not the power of faith and prayer to effect all things with God. However you try, you cannot do works to compare with those which faith and prayer accomplish in the name of Christ. If you gave your body over to be martyred, and all your goods to feed the poor, you could not do so much as by continual intercession. Few are rich, few can suffer for Christ; all may pray. Were you an apostle of the Church or a prophet, you could not do more than you can do by the power of prayer. Go not, then, astray to find out new modes of serving God and benefiting man. I show you a more excellent way.

-- Blessed John Henry Newman

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