- Our parish
- Parish Life
Eating keeps your body alive, and prayer keeps your soul alive. Praying is more important than eating because your soul is more important than your body. Your soul is more important than your body because your soul is you, your personality, yourself. You will get a new body after death, in the resurrection at the end of the world. But you will not get a new soul; you will only purify and sanctify your old one, because you are your soul. The “you” that will get a new body is your soul.
Praying keeps your soul alive because prayer is real contact with God, and God is the life of the soul as the soul is the life of the body. If you do not pray, your soul will wither and die, just as, if you do not eat, your body will wither and die.
To know anyone, you must not just know thousands of things about him, but you must know him, you must meet him, you must spend time with him, or, as Brother Lawrence would say, “practice his presence”. The same is true of knowing God. To pray is to know God by practicing his presence; and this is to live in reality (for God is really present), instead of in the fantasy worlds we construct in our own minds, in which God is absent.
Prayer is easier than we think. We want to think it is too hard or too high and holy for us, because that gives us an excuse for not doing it. This is false humility. We can all do it, even the most sinful, shallow, silly, and stupid of us.
You do not have to master some mystical method. You do not have to master any method at all. Can you talk to a friend? Then you can talk to God, for he is your Friend. And that is what prayer is.
You do not have to wait until you become a saint. This is the way to become a saint.
The single most important piece of advice about prayer is one word: Begin!
God makes it easy to begin: just do it! God also makes it easy to progress in prayer, for he rewards our efforts with peace and joy. And he makes it easiest of all at the end, for it gradually becomes more natural and more delightful. In fact, in Heaven, prayer will be more delightful than sex is now.
Life contains many hardships and pains, but prayer is not one of them.
Prayer is so simple that no method at all is needed. For some people, methods of prayer are of some help. For other people, they are more of a hindrance than a help. For no people at all are they the essential, substantive answer to the question of How.
Prayer is love. To love anyone is to seek his presence, to seek intimacy and union. (You do not love someone if you do not want to spend time with him) . Love is also communication, (You do not love someone if you do not want to talk with him and get to know him better.)
But love is too simple, too free, and too great for technology. There can be no technique love, no “method” for loving.
Love is too simple for methods because comes from the heart, the center of the self which is like the point at the center of a circle.
Love is too free for methods because love is my choice, and my choice cannot made by anyone else (though others can help me). My love can be a response to yours, I it cannot be caused by yours. I can cause Coke machine to give me a Coke, but I can cause you to love me. Even God cannot me us love him.
Not all prayer is in words, because not conversation is in words. But it begins v words. It is true that it goes beyond words because it is love.
We should not despise the simple, hum beginnings of prayer in words. Jesus did not. When asked “Teach us to pray”, he gave u vocal prayer.
We should use our own words, too, of course. Our conversation with God should be utterly free and familiar, because God is the only person who will never, ever misunderstand us and never, ever reject us (hate us, ignore us, or be indifferent to us). These are the two reasons we hide from other people, even friends, even our parents, and the two reasons we should never hide from God. “For my fat and my mother have forsaken me, but LORD will take me up.” (Ps 27:10) For hi our everything.
But this “free and familiar” conversation not idle chatter. It is not flip and casual. (God is not our pet or our pop psychologist. God is God: utterly awesome, infinitely great.’ familiarity of prayer is wonderful because familiarity with God).
There is also no contradiction between familiarity and spontaneity of this continual conversation with God and our use of formal prayers and public liturgy. When we use the prayers of the Church, we use the greatest prayers ever written, the words and sentiments of great saints and hymn writers and liturgists. We do this rightly, because God deserves the best and these prayers are the best. They were composed by other people, but we make them our own when we pray them, like a lover reciting a sonnet by Shakespeare to his beloved. It is Shakespeare’s gift: Shakespeare gave it to him, and now he gives it to his beloved.
But if others’ words are the only words lovers use to each other, they are not lovers but performers. We must not only “say our prayers”, we must pray. Others’ words may be more beautiful, but your words are more yours, and God cherishes them as a father cherishes his child’s own crude drawing made just for him more than he cherishes the greatest work of art in the world. God wants your own words most of all because they are your own: they come from your heart, and your heart is what your Lover craves. Your heart may be paltry compared with the heart of a great saint, but your heart is what God wants from you Your heart is all you can give him; you cannot give him the heart of a great saint. Until you become one, that is. And you become one only by giving him your heart.
This is the closest we will come to teaching a “method” of prayer. But these three steps are such a simple “method” that you will never forget them.
“Stop, look, and listen” is what you do at a railroad crossing. Prayer is like a railroad crossing. God is like a great train crossing the tracks of your life. You want to get run over by this train! So here is how you put yourself on the tracks in front of God.
First, STOP! Stop doing everything else you are doing. Stop worrying about anything else in the whole world except your prayer to God right now. Stop being Martha; if you don’t, you cannot be Mary (see Lk 10:38-41). You cannot sit at the Lord’s feet while you are running around on your own feet. You cannot hear him if you are frothing at the mouth and fussing at the fingers. You cannot LOOK unless you first STOP; you cannot practice the presence of God if you are just too busy for him.
This is true even of your kids and your parents: they need your time more than they need anything else, for that is your life – your lifetime. Time is a test of love, and the beloved (or the not-beloved) always knows it. God certainly knows it.
You cannot “do God” by halves. God – the real God as distinct from some convenient man-made idea – is too big to fit into some little side slot in your mind while you are doing something else that is more important to you. He is not back-ground music.
This first step, STOP, is in itself the easiest one. But you will probably find it the hardest if you are a typically modern person: busy, active, outgoing. Most of us are like rolling stones: we have too much momentum to slow down. If you do find this hard, remember that it is only hard to you; in itself it is easy. And remember that it is necessary: you have to stop even to smell the roses; all the more necessary to stop to talk to God!
You cannot “do God” by halves. God… is too big to fit into some little side slot in your mi while you are doing something else that is more important to you. He is not background music.
The second step is LOOK: look at God with the eye of your soul, the eye of your mind. I mean the eye of faith. You cannot see God with your body’s eye, and the eye of your reason is very weak; but the eye of faith is strong because that is God’s own gift to you, the eye God provided.
Faith knows that God is real, and faith knows that God is present.
LOOK means simply LOOK. It is hard only because it is so simple. The holy Cure asked the peasant what he did when he prayed, and his answer was the most perfect description of contemplative prayer: “I look at him, and he looks at me” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2715).
That is all. By a simple act of will, turn your attention to him. You cannot talk to someone if you do not look at him.
And this is going to be a two-way conversation. You are going to talk, but you are also going to listen. And you cannot listen to him unless you first look at him.
So the last step is LISTEN.
In a conversation, if you are the wisest, it makes sense for you to do most of the talking. If the other person is wiser, it makes sense for you to do most of the listening. The wiser the other is, the more listening you want to do. Well prayer is conversation with God, and it makes no sense for us to do most of the talking. We ought to be listening most of the time.
But, you may object, we cannot hear God’s voice as we can hear the voice of another human being. True but we can hear God’s voice in other ways. We hear him in nature which is his art. We hear him in his providential directing of our lives, and in the lessons in human history, and in the “still, small voice” of our conscience, God’s interior prophet. We hear him loud and clear in Scripture, his inspired Word deliberately given to us. One way of praying is listening to God’s voice in Scripture, reading Scripture as God’s Word – which is exactly what it is!
And the best listening, the listening that gest the closest to God’s heart, the listening that hears the most total revelation of God, is listening to Christ, God incarnate, God in the flesh, “very God of very God”. “The Word of God” means the Bible only secondarily; primarily it means Christ. In the words of the Catechism, Christ is “the Father’s one, perfect, and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one” (CCC 65). Praying by reading the Gospels prayerfully and “listening” is one of the very best ways to pray.
We also need to hear what God says to us at each moment of our lives. This is a habit we gradually develop, for God’s voice is “a still, small voice”. But he promised that we would learn to recognize it: “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name … and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice” (Jn 10:3-4).
With the ear of our heart. With love. Love has ears, as love has eyes. Just be there, and love him, and let him love you.
Let God take care of that. Seek only him, do not use him as a means to seek any other end. He is not your Santa, he is your Savior. I cannot tell you what he will give you, except for one thing: he will give you himself. He will give you more of himself the more you want him, that is, the more you love him. He wants to pour infinite riches into your soul; prayer is a way of opening up your soul so that more of God can enter.
In order to listen, we must look. In order to look, we must stop. And in order to stop doing things, we must first be doing things. God gave us a world in which we are to work. But God also gave us a Sabbath, in which we are to pray.
It is a simple, easy, and beautiful practice, and I absolutely guarantee you that if you do it, you will love it and cherish it and be very grateful for the suggestion.
If you cannot, you are in serious trouble; you are addicted to work and action as to a drug. You are a slave. If you can but you will not, you are in even more serious trouble; for that means that you do not love God as much as you love whatever else you are doing. Perhaps what you are doing is reading about loving God!
That is insane.
We are all insane. That is what original sin means. Sin is insanity. It is preferring finite joy to infinite joy, creatures to the Creator, an unhappy, Godless self to a happy, God-filled self. Only God can save us from this disease. That is what the name “Jesus” means: “God saves.” He has done his part, on the Cross. Our part is to accept him.
A good way to act out our acceptance right now would be to stop reading this and pray for at least one minute.
Please do not give me, the author of these words, that minute and rob God. Please rob me and give it to God. Stop reading me and read God. Stop listening to me and listen to God.
Do not read another wore until you are. Now ask God to help you do that again and again for the rest of your life.
We are one day nearer Home today than we ever were before. I guarantee you that after you die you will not say “I spent too much time praying.”
It’s your great privilege to enter into prayer with God, yet through prayer he will bless you immensely. Let’s look together at eight reasons prayer is necessary and vital for your life.
I know your day is busy (so is mine!), but I promise you that you can find time for what you hold as a priority.
Saturday (Vigil): 4:40pm Rosary & Rec., 5:00pm Mass
Sunday: 7:30am, 9am & 6pm, Vietnamese 11:15am.
Monday: 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
Tuesday: 6:15pm Ador., 6.30pm Rosary & Rec., 7pm Mass
Wednesday: 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
Thursday: 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
Friday: 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
First Friday: Ador. 7am-7:30pm.
Masses at 9:15am & 7:30pm with Anointing of the Sick and 4pm in Vietnamese.
Ador. – Adoration.
Rec. – Reconciliation.
Office Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30am to 4 pm.
Office Location: Presbytery (Entry Via Beaconsfield St).
Priest: Rev Dariusz Basiaga SDS PP JP
Phone: (02) 9773 9065
Email: Parish Office
MAP & DIRECTIONS