Illumine our Hearts
For those of you who have patiently waited for a post, thanks for your patience. Life has certainly been busy. I think the prayer I am about to share is a very important one. We often seek more knowledge or other things in the Western Tradition. I think we would all do well to continue to pray for light.
I feel that we often find ourselves jaded. Wait, let me rephrase that. I often find myself jaded, and dismal, and lacking hope. I find myself forgetting to live in the power of the resurrection. I find myself lacking the imagination to live in the light. What I mean is, we forget that we can and should live in the power of the resurrection now. I forget that Christ is risen. I forget that Christ has conquered and now we live in victory.
I recently had a debate with some friends most convert to Catholicism, and I found myself depressed at the way it was handled at various moments. I watched these friends of mine, whom I love dearly defend beliefs and ideals to high heaven, but I saw very little charity. I decided to make a choice, and that choice was to be different.
The Rule I discovered as a principle to put into the conversion survival guide is this:
It’s easy to lose sight of your conversion’s reasons when you get mired down in theological and liturgical debates. But it’s best to stay focused on Christ, on the power of the resurrection and why you are in process of conversion. It’s imperative that in moments of trial we ask for God to help us find the light again.
I think that’s the most important thing about all this. Remembering to depend on God for His light in the midst of darkness.
Let’s not Get Lost:
I learned today that it’s extremely easy to get lost in minutiae of any sort on any side of the liturgical aisle, obsessions over liturgy, over theological Thomisms that few will understand, or over who has or what the best interpretation of the Second Vatican Council is. Arguing over the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the Novus Ordo, or the use of English in the rites of the Roman Catholic liturgy is going to accomplish little to build the kingdom, in my opinion.
I might be wrong, but I think that I’m rather well thought out. I know that we need to advance the Church, in all areas. We need to work hard to retain what Pope Benedict XVI calls the Hermeneutic of continuity. I think we need to discuss these things, but at the same time, we need not get lost in them. We need to work from within the life of the Church towards her future.
But even with all this focus, I did learn something else, about the power of hope…
Even when there’s no charity among Christians and we’re nearly at each others throats in arrogance, there’s still a light that emanates from a weeping man who dies outside the walls of Jerusalem. There’s still beauty in the midst of all the ugly, and that beauty is the Christ who suffers to bring us Himself.
God comes to the Godforsaken, and this proves one more thing:
The world is always ready for more of the Kingdom, always.
In a world full of darkness, this might be one of our best and most hope filled prayers.
The Prayer of Illumination:
I want to share with you, a prayer from my daily meditations, one that my Orthodox friends would know well, and one that my friends in the Western Tradition have heard me pray at one point or another. I have recently seen some very dark days not just with friends but with society. From uncharitable actions, to illness, poverty, callousness and people lacking hope, I have seen dark days recently. And so, I’d like to offer a prayer with intentions for those who are searching for light.
The Prayer goes like this:
Illumine our hearts, O Master Who loves mankind, with the pure light of Your divine knowledge. Open the eyes of our mind to the understanding of Your gospel teachings. Implant also in us the fear of Your blessed commandments, that trampling down all carnal desires, we may enter upon a spiritual manner of living, both thinking and doing such things as are well-pleasing unto You. For You are the illumination of our souls and bodies, O Christ our God, and unto You we ascribe glory, together with Your Father, Who is from everlasting, and Your all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.