Prayer is a Battle

Father James at Regina High School with the SJS alumni

Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 20, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

The Old Testament has so many great images of prayer, and particularly military images, which I like since I enjoy studying military history.  The Books of Joshua and Judges are particularly interesting.  For instance, there is Joshua's defeat of Jericho, which is done simply by having his army march around the outer walls seven times on seven consecutive days and then finally blowing a trumpet (cf. Joshua 6).  Or the story of Gideon, who, with only three hundred soldiers carrying empty jars with torches inside them, defeats the Midianite army that was "as numerous as locusts" (Judges 7:12).  In the first reading this Sunday we have the conquest of the Amalekites because Moses, overlooking the battle from a mountaintop, keeps his arms literally raised in the air.

A brief excursus if you think it unforward of me to speak of war and prayer.  I'm not glorying in violence.  I'm simply pointing our certain military tactics that can be applied to how we pray.  After all, Part Four, Chapter Three, Article Two of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, titled "The Battle of Prayer" reads:

The great figures of prayer of the Old Covenant before Christ, as well as the Mother of God, the saints, and he himself, all teach us this: prayer is a battle. Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God.

So, what is the spiritual message of Moses' raised arms?  Well, I'll just pick one, for there are many.  Moses with his arms in the air looked somewhat, I'm sure, like Christ on the cross.  I bet, in fact, Moses told this to our Lord when they conversed upon Tabor at the Transfiguration.  Just as Moses was held up by the stone placed underneath him, so too was Christ, the stone rejected by the builders, held up by the wood beam.  Aaron and Hur were like the horizontal beams of the wood of the cross.

When we pray, like Moses and Christ, we are on the cross.  This means we are both suffering ourselves and helping others: two very selfless actions.  Find prayer difficult? Find it to be a battle?  Then you're in good company. 

Pastoral Council will be meeting on Monday, October 21st.  The pastoral council's focus this year is on evangelization.  How can we as a parish help deepen each other's faith and relationship with God, and then go out to be missionaries, serving others and spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ?  If you have some ideas or would like to be involved, please reach out to me or Eileen Mitchell, the chair of the pastoral council. 

Speaking of Eileen Mitchell, if you missed last week's bulletin, Eileen has been named a recipient of the 2019 Archdiocese Christifidelis Award.  Eileen has been involved in many ways in our parish, and we shouldn't forget to mention her husband, Jim, who serves on our parish finance council, coaches basketball teams in school, and was instrumental in the construction projects in the back of the church last year.  

Part of evangelization is having solid Christian relationships.  If you are interested in being part of a small men's or women's faith group, please send me an email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).  See the recent bulletins for more on what these groups would be about.

The Queen of Hearts 3.0 is back!  Tickets will be on sale Thursday, October 17th and the first drawing will be this upcoming Thursday, October 24th at 9pm at the Emerald Isle

Our school's Grandparents Day is this Friday, October 25th.  There will be a reception, tours, a performance, all finished by Mass at 10:30am in Church. 


Yours in Christ,

Fr. James

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