We pray with good reason and always with confidence in our Father. But prayer is a struggle. The Catechism has an article titled, "The Battle of Prayer."
Prayer is a battle because we know that the world can be cruel. Sometimes it is hard to understand why God allows so much hurt, so much suffering, so much senseless violence. So often it seems that the wicked are "winning" and that God is not listening.
In the face of the world's suffering and cruelty, our faith and our prayer teach us two things.
First, that we need to trust more in God's providence and rely more on his mercy. He is the Lord of history and his creation is unfolding according to his plan of love.
God hears the cries of those who suffer. But he does not always give us the answers we want to hear. And that is hard.
But God does answer every prayer and he brings good out of every evil. We need to trust in his love, although we may not understand his answers until we meet him face-to-face in the world to come. We don't pray to change God, we pray to change ourselves. That is why the essence of prayer is to pray - not for what we want, but for what he wants. Thy will be done. Not my will.
The second thing our faith teaches is that we must overcome evil with good and respond to hatred with love.
Prayer for others is the beginning of compassion. Prayer leads us to suffer with those who are suffering, to work for justice, and to be instruments of God's compassion and mercy. We pray for those who suffer. And we pray that we will be an answer to the prayers of those who suffer.
So let's keep praying for one another and for our brothers and sisters in San Bernardino. Let's pray in a special way for peace in our world, and for the conversion of every heart that hates.
And in this season of Advent and this Year of Mercy - let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary to touch the hearts of those who do not yet believe and cannot yet find the reason to pray.
Posted with permission from The Tidings, official publication of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
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