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Tuesday, First Week of Lent

March 15, 2011

Blessed Tuesday!

Father, look on us, Your children.
Through the discipline of Lent
help us to grow in our desire for You.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.
(Opening Prayer from today’s Mass)

Isaiah 55:10-11 (God’s word will not return void)
Psalm 34:4-19 “From all their afflictions God will deliver the just”
+Matthew 6:7-15 (Jesus gives us the “Our Father”)

For just as from the Heavens the rain and snow come down
And do not return there till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats,
So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.
– Isaiah 55:10-11

Do you ever feel as if your prayers “return void”?
As though they just bounce off the ceiling without doing any good?
It’s a fairly common experience.
Of course, our feelings aren’t always plugged into Reality.
Sometimes our prayers feel useless when they’re actually very powerful indeed.

But God has told us that there are prayers that don’t get through,
if we’re asking wrongly, asking for the wrong thing (James 4:3)
or rejecting the truths God’s already given us (Proverbs 28:9).

How can we pray, feelings or no feelings, so that our prayers do not return void?

This is precisely the question Jesus answers in today’s Gospel.
First we hear that God’s Word does not return void.
Then God Himself gives His Word to us so that we can use it in prayer.
That prayer will not return void.

Our Father

We’re not isolated.
We’re members of a holy family, looking to our heavenly Father for everything
and to holy Mother Mary, to holy Mother Church,
and to our spiritual brothers and sisters (the saints) for support, advice and encouragement.

Who art in Heaven

We’re not looking for earthly answers, but rather for heavenly ones, eternal ones.

Hallowed be Thy Name

…the Name in which we are Baptized, the Name in which we Baptize.
When we are holy, His Name is hallowed
because we are made in His image and likeness (see Genesis 1:27).
God, help us to cooperate in Your work of making us holy,
that we may all hallow Your Name!

Thy Kingdom come

We place ourselves under the wise leadership of the King of Kings.
Father, help us all to become good citizens of Your Kingdom of Heaven
(begun here on earth in the Church).

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven

Ah, here’s the crux of the matter!
What does God want for us?!
How can we cooperate with Him in bringing that about?
We know that He wants everyone to be saved (I Timothy 2:4),
to become holy (I Thessalonians 4:3), to come to Heaven with Him.
What leads us toward Heaven?
What leads us farther away?
Lord, give us eyes to see and hearts to choose Your will
and give us the strength to bear the cost.

Give us this day our daily bread

Children need to eat…not only physical food,
but the daily bread of the Eucharist as well.
We beg for the privilege of daily Mass for ourselves and for all,
that we may not grow faint from spiritual malnourishment.

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us

We make mistakes in the process of learning.
We’re going to fail and others are going to fail us.
Father, help us to turn away from sin,
to ask for forgiveness and to extend mercy to others.
Keep our relationships healthy.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one

We can expect to be tempted to selfishness, frustration, anger, discouragement.
We have an enemy, prowling like a roaring lion,
looking for someone to devour (I Peter 5:8).
We beg protection and deliverance for ourselves
and for all the members of our holy family.
We seek help in cooperating with that protection, in avoiding spiritual danger.

Many are the troubles of the just man,
but out of them all the Lord delivers him.
-Psalm 34:20

As we plow our souls and pierce the clouds with this holy dart of prayer,
divine rain will fall upon our desert.

It will not return void.

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