Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary time,
October 16, 2022
St. Augustine Catholic Church
Persistence in Prayer
I am incredibly grateful for being able to write and preach on these readings. I have never been disappointed in prayer. In our first reading from Exodus, we hear of Moses sending out Joshua to defend Israel from Amalek. While Moses sent Joshua to fight, he, Aaron, and Hur went to a hillside to pray. When Moses extended his arms to God, Joshua was successful. When Moses’ arms became weak and fell, Joshua’s army began to lose. So, realizing the problem, Moses had Aaron and Hur hold his arms up and Joshua and the army prevailed. Prayer saved the day!
There is a wonderful story of two Catholic monasteries in Japan during World War II. Both monasteries were dedicated to the rosary. One was located in Hiroshima, the other in Nagasaki. Amidst complete devastation in both cities and incredible loss of life, the friars in both monasteries survived not only the blast, but also the intense radiation.
Our Gospel from St. Luke begins, “Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.” The story is about the persistent widow seeking a just decision for her against her adversary. The parable as seen from the eyes of a dishonest judge says that he will grant her the request to keep her silent. (He doesn’t want to see her again). This gives a parallel to our good and loving God, who, out of love and our persistence, will answer our needs as well.
St. Thomas Aquinas in his doctrine on the “Infallible efficacy of prayer” lays out four prayer principles, which are when we ask 1) for ourselves, 2) for things necessary for our salvation, 3) piously, and 4) perseveringly.
According to Father Garrigou-Lagrange, a renowned Dominican theologian, “Prayer is a more powerful force than all the physical energies taken together, more powerful than money, or learning. Prayer can accomplish what all material things and all created spirit cannot do by their natural powers. Prayer thus plays an infinitely greater role in the world than the most amazing discoveries (refrigeration, combustible engine, the computer).”
Mother Mary says, “Thirty people praying the rosary can stop a war.” Most in of us are products of faith-filled homes in which prayer was important.
St. Paul says, “Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it, and that from infancy you have known the Sacred Scriptures”. So, we must use that faith in staying close to God. Keeping our hands raised to God. Praying with others. Maintaining our faith.
In one hand Moses carried the Staff of God. I have chosen to name Moses’ staff, Faith. Moses accomplished much with the Staff of God and so, too, we can with our staff of Faith and the rosary. Remember that Faith is a gift of God. Doubt is the gift of the devil.