The greatest obstacle in the spiritual life is not knowing your need for God, your need for a savior. In what ways am I in denial of my deepest need? If we are honest, we will discover that there is a part of us that does not like to acknowledge our need for God, our need for a savior. The hardness of heart which prevents spiritual growth is rooted in this unholy ignorance of the truth. If the truth “sets us free” then lies “hold us bound”. The idea that I do not need God, do not need a savior, is a damn lie.
An essential grace is to know your need for God, your need for a savior. “Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else” (Luke 18:9). An honest self-assessment of one’s sins, weaknesses and failures can open the heart in humility to receive the life-giving healing that only comes from God’s grace.
Pray for the grace to know your need, to know it in your head and your heart.
Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR St. Joseph Friary, New York, NY
Silence and Prayer
November is the month when the road of life leads us through the colorful change of leaves and apparent dying of creation. It is a month which sees nature in an ostensible quiet, contemplation, silence and stillness. It is also a month when we remember to pray for the holy souls in purgatory and make visits to the graves of dear ones who have made the journey to eternal shores. Below is a powerful quote from Pope Benedict on the importance of silence and listening in prayer.
"At times, however, we are tempted to close in on ourselves, to doubt the strength of Christ’s radiance, to limit the horizon of hope. Take courage! Fix your gaze on our saints. The diversity of their experience of God’s presence prompts us to discover anew the breadth and depth of Christianity [...] Dear friends, the example of the saints invites us, then, to consider four essential aspects of the treasure of our faith: personal prayer and silence, liturgical prayer, charity in action, and vocations [...] There is another aspect of prayer which we need to remember: silent contemplation. Saint John, for example, tells us that to embrace God’s revelation we must first listen, then respond by proclaiming what we have heard and seen (cf. 1 Jn 1:2-3; Dei Verbum, 1). Have we perhaps lost something of the art of listening? Do you leave space to hear God’s whisper, calling you forth into goodness? Friends, do not be afraid of silence or stillness, listen to God, adore him in the Eucharist. Let his word shape your journey as an unfolding of holiness"
(Pope B16, 19 April 2008, Yonkers, New York).
God bless, Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR St. Joseph Friary, New York, NY