Sunday, October 20, 2013

It's not impossible

Today's gospel gives us a double command, one thing to do and one thing not to do. On the one hand we are to pray always. On the other side, we are not to become weak.
Taken literally it would seem impossible. Are we supposed to walk around muttering prayers all day long? That makes no sense.
Yes, we should at a minimum begin and end our day with actual prayers. It is even better if we can pause several times during the course of the day and say perhaps a simple Our Father or Hail Mary. But to pray always for the Christian is something much more simple: simple but not easy.
We know that we are temples of the Holy Spirit. For us to pray always then is to walk through the entire day from the moment we wake until the moment we fall asleep in constant contact with God, constantly aware of that presence of God with us.
If we can live constantly aware of that presence of God then the second command not to grow weak or tired, or despondent is easy.
The Church links this gospel with the first reading from the Book of Exodus to make sure that we do not fall into the other trap. The trap of individualism. Yes, I am the temple of the Holy Spirit but I am also part of the Body of Christ. Ours is a communal faith.
When Moses's strength failed it was not enough for him to pray and have God magically give him the strength to keep his arms up. He had to be humble, he had to allow Aaron and Hur to help him. He had to allow them to be God's instruments. He had to accept the truth that he could not do it on his on. Can we do that? Can we acknowledge when our strength is gone? Can we ask for help not just directly from God but from others? Can we be humble enough to allow others to be our strength?
With constant prayer and humility there is nothing we can not face.