During our reflection last week I mentioned that: “we need to train ourselves to live our life in prayer, indeed we need to live our life as prayer”, and that this would be a lifelong task. We need to be trained, so to speak, throughout our journey to grow in this discipline. It is from this discipline of prayer that we should base our actions and decisions because it is from prayer that we come to understand God’s plan and His truths better. As we see in today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 15:1-2, 22-29), the lives of the faithful has been and will always be one of constant challenges and discernments. We are no different than those faithful of the nascent Church; we need to be in constant communication with God if we are to grow in His ways.
However, as with any discipline we need teachers, mentors, people to train us by example and encouragement. Athletes have their trainers; musicians and artists have their masters and maestros; we need our guides. As athletes and artisans long for mastery of their sport or art disciples should long for better understanding of God and search for someone who will train us and challenge us to improve.
In an article, the then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote: “The Fathers of the Church say that prayer, properly understood, is nothing other than becoming a longing for God. In Mary this petition has been granted: she is, as it were, the open vessel of longing, in which life becomes prayer and prayer becomes life.” It is to Mary that we should look for our trainer, our maestro; who better than the young maiden of Nazareth, that open vessel who allowed God to work through her, to give us our lessons on living our life as prayer. She is the perfect example for us to emulate. But more than that, she is the one who we should be opening our hearts to and asking for her intercession with her Son. By her guidance we will grow in our discipline of longing – prayer, and we will be immersed in love – her Son and His Holy Spirit.
My prayer for all of us, during this most Marian of months, is that we strengthen our devotion to our Blessed Mother, deepen our communication with our Queen, and grow in her knowledge of longing, which when understood correctly, changes our life into a continual living prayer and as we heard Jesus say in today’s Gospel (Jn 14:23-29) ‘we will come to him and make our dwelling with him’.