Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Deliver us from evil.



"Prayer is the trap door out of sin."
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I thought of those words from Teresa of Avila after reading today's Gospel wherein Jesus teaches the disciples to pray.
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All of us are sinners of course, but some of us at times have felt ourselves habituated to sin, some of us have been 'steeped in sin from our youth', others maybe just have a root sin they continually struggle with - at any rate - prayer really is the trap door out of sin, it really is necessary to pray in order to overcome sin - sometimes for many years.  As the Lord's prayer says, "deliver us from evil' - we need to ask, and that is what prayer does.
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Let the saints worry about merit.
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Many people think that one must be free from sin to pray - that you can't 'merit' anything if you are not in the state of grace - so they give up prayer, some even stop going to Mass because they either don't want to give up a particular sin, or they can't, or some sin may keep them from Communion, and they say - "so why go?"  Though skipping Mass may be heaping sin upon sin, even then - especially then - they need to pray.  If you don't pray you don't have a chance in hell - literally.  Prostitutes pray - I just mentioned in my post on Bl. Alberto the film La Strada by Fellini, in another film by the director, Nights of Cabiria, there is a scene where all the prostitutes make a pilgrimage to the Madonna.  Divorced and remarried people pray.  Homosexuals pray.  Thieves pray.  All sorts of sinners can and do and should pray.  Not so big sinners should pray and keep praying after a fall as well - you don't have to know about prayer to pray - you just pray.
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Prayer books help.
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So how do you pray?  Pray the rosary and or the chaplet of Divine Mercy - you will definitely get out of sin - sooner or later.  In the quote I use from Teresa of Avila - the particular trap door the Saint is referring to is 'mental prayer' which, reduced to its simplest meaning, is essentially being conscious of what you are praying or saying, and to whom.  But the concept or term mental prayer might be too complicated for ordinary people to distract themselves with right off the bat - which is why written prayers, novenas, rosaries and chaplets are good tools for people who don't know how to pray.  Reading a prayer focuses the mind and the heart and expresses sentiments one may not know how to express.  That is why Catholics have traditionally used prayer books.  That is why the Lord taught us the words of the Our Father, and the Church teaches us prayers such as the Creed or the Hail Mary, and so on.
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"He told them a parable on the necessity of praying always and not losing heart." - Luke 18:1
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Anyway - if you are addicted to some sin - pray.  And keep praying.  Eventually you will get back to the sacraments and Mass and find yourself free from sin - or at least better able to combat it.
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"Prayer is a way of gradually purifying and correcting our wishes and of slowly coming to realize what we really need: God and his spirit." - Pope Benedict XVI
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Photo: Giulietta Masina, Nights of Cabiria 

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for this very wise post. Tweeted, of course.

    God bless!

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  2. Anonymous1:15 PM

    Yes, prayer, prayer and charity. Charity covers a multitude.

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  3. Thanks Left Footer.

    Anonymous, I was even thinking of those without charity - prayer is one way to obtain it - the sacrament of penance being the means to restore it of course.

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  4. Terry, one of your beautiful posts - the kind you only find Abbey Roads. Thanks so much.

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  5. When I was in RCIA there wre poeple in there who were new to Christianity period, and that was probably the MOST pressing question--how do I pray??

    I told them that God is ALWAYS listening...so you can tell Him ANYTHING....alot of folks findthe printed prayers very "stiff"and not what they are feeling....I tell themtalk to God like to talk to your best friend...your cares, hopes, dreams, sorrows,disappointments...let the words flow.
    I give thanks for many little things....the lovely sunrise on the commute to work, the parking space in a full lot, and not stuffy formal prayers, just "Thank you God for the lovely sunrise."

    I think alot of people read the formal devotions and think--this is how to pray?? This isn't me. This isn't how I talk,this isn't how I think. I encourage people to make up their own prayers and devotions, in their language. I think it really helps people get out of the prayer rut.

    Sara

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  6. Steve Jobs RIP..

    And we have snow here tonight with this new storm....time to dust off the snowmobile avatar...

    Sara

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  7. "The devil knows that he has lost the soul that perseveringly practices mental prayer." - St. Teresa of Avila

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  8. Anonymous9:28 AM

    Aman who was dying was worried that he was unable to pray, so he talked to t;he pastor. The pastor told him to imagine that Jesus was sitting in the chair in his bedroom and just talk to him. Later the daughter called the pastor to tell him that her father had died. And she said what was strange was that he wasn't in bed but kneeling by the chair with his head resting on the chair.

    fr ray/DC

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  9. I totally agree. When we are tempted the most, it is the best time to say a prayer to help us fight the devil's lure. Prayer books can supplement our own prayers to remind us about what is right and important.

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