A man of prayer, Jesus is capable of everything, of living the hard truth even that there is no glorification without crucifixion.
Jesus is devoted to prayer. He is, according to St. Vincent de Paul, “a man of the greatest prayer” (SV.FR IX:415). Or, as Father Robert P. Maloney, C.M., puts it:
Christ is constantly before the Father in prayer.
Jesus prays in the midst of his missionary activity. He thus makes it known that he always remains united to the Father, which should convince members of the Vincentian family—all Christians, for that matter—of the indispensability of prayer.
From the Vincentian standpoint, to give ourselves to prayer means to admit our absolute dependence on God. To pray is to acknowledge the Father, in imitation of Jesus, as the only author of all the good that is in us, it is to trust, not in ourselves, but in God, for unless he takes a hand in it, we will end up spoiling everything (SV.FR XII:109; XI:343).
Hence, to pray tirelessly, especially in difficult, dark and uncertain times, is to profess the faith by which God justifies us. It is a faith that is peaceful, yet does not fail to question.
True faith does not eliminate all darkness. That is why it is not altogether like the faith of those who “are walled-up so well behind catechisms and books of apologetics.” Much less is it like the faith of occupiers of the chair of truth turned merciless inquisitors.
Those really imbued with faith confess in prayer that that they are overcome by sleep when it is time to pray, and that they are inclined to think of themselves very much and very little of others (“Master, it is good that we are here”). But if they know they have motives to mistrust themselves, they know likewise that they have more and greater motives to trust in God (SV.FR V:165).
Authentic Christians understand that Jesus chooses them as he does Peter, John and James, not because of their works or merits, but because they are the slowest to understand the Master’s predictions of his passion and death. Yet dwelling not so much on their lowly condition as on divine benevolence, they firmly believe Jesus will transform them.
Transformed, they will get to exercise also “Jesus Christ’s two great virtues, namely, reverence toward his Father and charity toward human beings” (SV.FR VI:393). Hence, with understanding and compassion they will see to it that others get transformed as well.
And since God enlightens their minds through prayer (SV.FR IX:421), they will discern the body of Christ in the poor. Hence,they will neither eat nor drink judgment on themselves. And better still, they will be capable of drinking the cup that Jesus drinks.
February 21, 2016
2nd Sunday of Lent (C)
Gen 15, 5-12. 17-18; Phil 3, 17 – 4, 1; Lk 9, 28b-36