Prayer from the heart

Today I went to Novena Church before eleven, hoping to be able to find some time to meditate on a Psalm and to pray the Rosary. I went with much trepidation, knowing full well that many others too will be there as well. So, I arrived – safely. I went into the Church. It was very humid and the air was still. I settled down to pray believing that I just needed to do my part, the Lord would help me with the rest. It was not long before I started to let my eyes wander. A lady helper came in and talked loudly to her friend. Another lady near by started to fan herself. I told myself, ‘Stay focussed’. A slight breeze began to blow and I was pleased. But my thoughts started to wander, and I gave myself a reminder, that I too would carry a fan in my handbag the next time. It is strange that the more we focus on the humidity, the more uncomfortable we really feel.

This brings to mind a talk I went to at the Church of Risen Christ several years ago. The room was small and the crowd kept growing. People were sitting on steps and there was hardly any standing space left. The air conditioning was not working properly and many people were complaining that it was stuffy. However. after a few minutes, everyone started to settle down and almost at the same time, a cool breeze seemed to envelop each of us. There was now silence and the talk could begin. The lesson I took from there was that I ought to accept and offer up any discomfort. When I stop focussing on my own needs, I can then  begin to accept the situation and allow the Lord to take over. He is ever present and He knows everything. Praise God!

To continue with my time at Novena Church today, I decided that I would do better if I moved outside and so I did. But my troubles were not over. Even outside the main Church, there were distractions. But I  must quickly add that it was getting better. A breeze was blowing.  I was almost desperate in my plea to the Lord. Then in a bush nearby, a bird chirped continuously for several minutes. Its song was loud and clear, and it just went on and on and on. I thought to myself: ‘This bird is praising God!” When the song of the bird finally stopped, I found that I had only thirty minutes left for my rosary.

Now I moved to the part of the Church where our Lady of Fatima’s statue was placed. It would be there that I would stay for mass. Without much ado, I took my Tessara out and started to pray  the rosary. There was no time to waste even as I could see other people around me. A kind man spent much time trying to tell those who came in to avoid the pews reserved for the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.

With my rosary in hand, my eyes went to the colourful icons in my rosary booklet. Ah, Monday – the Joyful Mysteries. As I prayed, I grew more and more calm; the consolation of our Lord came upon me as I moved on to the second Mystery.  Two women in an embrace. Two women whose sons will make a path for the Good News to be proclaimed to the whole world.

From the first mystery to the fifth, it was evident that our Lord Jesus chose not the best for Himself. He could have come in another way. But no, He chose a simple maiden, a maiden pure and humble too. I pondered on the mystery of two God fearing women, our Blessed Mother and St Elizabeth, and their responses to the call of the Lord. Two lay women. Two  lives given over to the Lord.  On a cold night, some animals were there in the manger. The King of kings and the Lord of lords had come to save us all. Jesus chose to be born to parents who were poor and I looked at St Joseph with two turtle doves to offer for the Presentation in the Temple. In the fifth mystery, there was the Child Jesus who submitted to human authority and thus gained favour with man and with God.

What was the grace I received? Humility. Humility as Jesus wanted to show me through my meditation on His life.  When I stopped whining about the warm weather, the distractions and the noises all around, I could then begin to pray. Thank God for allowing me to commune with Him in the depths of my heart. May I learn to pray as children do – with no fuss, with no fanfare – just straight from the heart!

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