In early November , I spent a few hours speaking to some of the senior theology classes at St. Joseph School in Madison. I spoke with the students much more about prayer than I have in the past. Many people want to do God’s will, but they don’t know how to discover God’s will.
We can only understand what our call from God is, in an affirmative way, if we come to the Lord in silent prayer and develop a relationship with him. Pope Benedict XVI said that ‘young people, if they know how to pray, can be trusted to know what to do with God’s call.’ What a powerful statement! But it is true! Once we understand how to enter into a living dialogue with the Lord, then he can speak to us and we can speak back to Him. One of the first steps of entering into deeper prayer is understanding who we are in Christ. In other words, who we are as baptized Christians and members of the church.
Through our baptism we are given an exalted position before the Lord. We are made sons and daughters of our heavenly Father. Like any good father, the Lord wants to help guide us along our way. He wants to see us reach our full potential, and he wants to support us as we strive to reach that potential. But many people struggle to experience a true, living relationship with God. This is why it is so important that we are rooted in a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is only in Christ that we are sons and daughters of the Father, and so it is in Christ that we can form a relationship with the Holy Trinity.
Our confirmation seals us in the grace of our baptism, and is another way that God generously pours forth grace into our hearts as the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit are made manifested in our acts of virtue. With the frequent reception of communion and regular visits to reconciliation, we are well on our way to deepening our relationship with the Lord.
But personal prayer is a must if we are going to discover God’s will for us. When we enter into prayer we have to enter into silence. We live in a world full of distractions, and so to step away from those distractions is our first step in prioritizing God above all things. The Scriptures are a powerful well-spring of prayer. When we read the Word of God, we begin to realize that we are not alone. Faithful people throughout the ages have struggled with their relationship with God, and with others, and this is related again and again in the Scriptures. In our next issue I will discuss how we pray with the Scriptures. Please share this article with a young person in your life and encourage them to develop a life of personal prayer.
– Father Nick Adam, vocation director