St. Francis de Sales Catholic Community in Phoenicia New York has a new priest, Rev. Raphael Iannone. His homilies are noteworthy. The reading for Sunday Mass was Luke 11:1-13 which detailed the disciples asking Jesus how to pray. He teaches them the Lord’s Prayer and then adds “ask and you will receive.”
Here are a few of my notes from the homily.
There is a book called The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. In this book there is a time where a leader was scheduled to give a speech. Usually the auditorium is filled because the speeches are spectacular. One day his secretary made a mistake and put the wrong date on the schedule. The leader walks in to an empty auditorium. He bows to each section and then says that he needed to schedule more meeting like this one. He enjoyed the silence.
Father Raphael said we need to take time for silence and prayer, to listen to the voice of God.
Isaac Newton invented a telescope that could see far into the stars. Newton said he could look millions of miles into space (highly unlikely), but better still, he can set aside time, go into his room, get on his knees, and see more of Heaven than through the telescope.
Jesus gave us His very presence. He is in our midst. He is in the Eucharist.
The disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray. He teaches them the Lord’s Prayer.
Often, when we pray the Lord’s Prayer we pray it mechanistically, sort of like the prayer wheels of the eastern people. Although psychologists say repetitive prayers are beneficial and give us some peace, we can’t recite the Our Father like a prayer wheel.
In the Lord’s Prayer there are no “I”, “My” or “Me”. Yet, when we pray it, we often think in those terms.
For example, we may pray, Give us this day our daily bread – but our mind is saying give me my daily bread. We make mental substitutions. Forgive us our sins turns into forgive me for my sins.
Charles Thompson says there is no “I” in the Lord’s Prayer. We must pray for our other brothers and sisters.
Then Jesus tells us to Ask, Receive, Knock. This is not put a nickel in and get a pie. Only when we are seeking the Kingdom of God first, attuning our hearts to the realm of God’s will that we receive what we ask.
Abraham Lincoln was once asked about praying for the North to win the battle. Abraham Lincoln said it is his constant prayer that our nation is on the side of the Lord.
If we are on the Lord’s side, we can pray with an open hand and He will give us our needs, forgive our sins, etc.
Often we come to God only when we are facing tragedy and doom and need to storm the heavens for the peace of God. Father Raphael asked us, where were we when Jesus said for us to be peacemakers? Are we bridge builders?
We need to tune into God and ask God what to do. Seek His divine guidance. Pray that He helps us know His will. Pray, show me what you want me to do.
Prayer is listening to the voice of God in our innermost being. Pray, Lord, teach us how to pray. Pause a while and enter into the silence and know that He is God and that He loves you. God is here for us. God is Holy and He is our God.
Hope you enjoy this teaching. It sure touched my heart.