I’m taking another break from my usual rosary meditations to talk more about my thoughts on prayer in general. Why? For starters, the remaining mysteries are ones that require a bit more thought and personal meditation in order to present them in a meaningful way. Also, while meditating on the holy rosary is an important part of our prayer life, it is also important to understand our motivations for prayer so that we can get the most out of it.
Have you ever heard of facebook? That’s fine if you have not and don’t worry, I won’t go into too much detail or pitch its many uses. It is a social networking web site where you build a community of family and friends. One of its most-used features is that you can broadcast your status to others in your network. People use this to express anything from small, mundane details of their lives to announcing important events. Different status updates include:
- “I don’t feel like studying right now.”
- “I’m sick.”
- “Wish me luck on my big date!”
- “I just finished my taxes and I can enjoy life again!”
- “I just came back from the doctor’s office and I’m waiting on my test results.”
What I find most interesting is the ease in which we share every detail of our lives with one another. We have no problem expressing our joys, disappointments, angers, frustrations, and gratitude to each other whether it is on a social networking web site, the phone, email, or in person. And the reasons we broadcast are just as diverse as the content of the messages. Perhaps we need advice on a particular subject or problem. Maybe we have a big announcement or we are excited about something and we want everyone to know. But I think we update our status, regardless of the message’s importance, mostly because we want to feel connected to one another.
Unfortunately, we often cut God out of our daily status updates. While we seem to have no problems informing people about everything we do, we shy away from discussing our hopes, fears, frustrations, and gratitude with God. Perhaps we figure that since God is omniscient and He already knows everything about us whether we inform Him or not, maybe we don’t feel like bothering Him with our daily problems. However, the purpose of relating our lives to God is not for His benefit, but for ours. Just as social networking sites connect us to each other, prayer connects us to God. And we are not only connected to Him, but His network of saints, angels, and the Church. That’s one powerful network!
The other important aspect of vocalizing our thoughts through prayer is that we begin to better understand how God will answer us. God always answers us, but because we do not understand the true nature of our problems we cannot understand His solution. It is like someone handing you wooden boards, nails, and a hammer and you do not know what you need to build. When we begin to formulate our concerns in prayer we won’t overlook or dismiss God’s response. If we pray continuously to God then we are always on the lookout for His response in whatever form it may take. Similar to my thoughts on prayer as spiritual exercise, when we include God in our network of family and friends and talk to Him constantly, His influence grows in our lives.
Let us learn from the example of Don Camillo — a fictional Italian priest who talks to Jesus Christ regularly as you would to a friend or relative. Don Camillo is far from perfect. He has a short temper, steals, and fights with the local, communist party members. But take note on how he has a very personal relationship with Jesus and allows the Lord to guide him especially when he finds himself in a difficult situation. If you have never seen the movies or read the books, I highly encourage you to check them out.