St. Augustine: Letter to Proba: 29th Sunday
Why in our fear of not praying as we should, do we turn to so many things, to find what we should pray for? Why do we not say instead, in the words of the psalm: I have asked one thing from the Lord, this is what I will seek: to dwell in the Lord’s house all the days of my life, to see the graciousness of the Lord, and to visit his temple? There, the days do not come and go in succession, and the beginning of one day does not mean the end of another; all days are one, simultaneously and without end, and the life lived out in these days has itself no end.
So that we might obtain this life of happiness, he who is true life itself taught us to pray, not in many words as though speaking longer could gain us a hearing. After all, we pray to one who, as the Lord himself tells us, knows what we need before we ask for it.
Why he should ask us to pray, when he knows what we need before we ask him, may perplex us if we do not realise that our Lord and God does not want to know what we want (for he cannot fail to know it), but wants us rather to exercise our desire through our prayers, so that we may be able to receive what he is preparing to give us. His gift is very great indeed, but our capacity is too small and limited to receive it. That is why we are told:Enlarge your desires, do not bear the yoke with unbelievers.
The deeper our faith, the stronger our hope, the greater our desire, the larger will be our capacity to receive that gift, which is very great indeed. No eye has seen it; it has no colour.No ear has heard it; it has no sound. It has not entered man’s heart; man’s heart must enter into it.
In this faith, hope and love we pray always with unwearied desire. However, at set times and seasons we also pray to God in words, so that by these signs we may instruct ourselves and mark the progress we have made in our desire, and spur ourselves on to deepen it. The more fervent the desire, the more worthy will be its fruit. When the Apostle tells us: Pray without ceasing, he means this: Desire unceasingly that life of happiness which is nothing if not eternal, and ask it of him who alone is able to give it.
The science of tenderness
(Vatican Radio) It’s harder to open our hearts and let God love us than to love God in return. But the only way to really love Him is to love others, especially the poor. God is an expert in the science of tenderness and we should allow ourselves to be loved by Him. This was Pope Francis’ message at morning Mass Friday on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Emer McCarthy reports:
Pope Francis referred to the solemnity as “the feast of love” of a “heart that loved so much” and repeated several times during his homily that Jesus loved us not with His words but with His deeds and his life. A love which, St. Ignatius said, "manifests itself more in deeds than in words" and that is especially "more giving than receiving." Pope Francis said "these two criteria are like the pillars of true love" and the Good Shepherd above all else represents the love of God. He knows His sheep by name, "because His is not an abstract or general love: it is love towards everyone ".
Reflecting on a passage from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, the Pope highlighted another aspect of God's love: caring for the lost, the wounded and the sick sheep:
"But do you love each other as I have loved you?" Pope Francis asked this question of those present, emphasizing how love is "being close to others”, is "like that of the Good Samaritan" and in particular , in the sign of "closeness and tenderness". He also asked: How can we return all this love to the Lord? By "loving", by being "closer to Him," by being "tender with Him”, but this alone, he said, “is not enough”: