After more than two years of constant effort, my morning prayers and reflections have become an essential part of my daily routine. I cannot even begin to imagine my day without starting it in prayers. And what good has it done me?
In my prayers, I have come to know my God better. Every time I gaze at nature I see the work of His hands. As I witness the passing of the seasons, I see God walking through the land. When I am touched by the love and care of others, I can feel His nurturing love. I often wonder why I am here and the inevitable answer is always that Someone made it happen so. I am not a random accident. I am the result of a loving thought and that thought took flesh in the person I am. Everything about me and around me is gift – undeserved, unmerited, given unconditionally and in total fullness.
In my prayers, I have come to know myself better. I know I am weak and I am often wrong. I have come to know what it means to have been born in sin. I know what is evil and yet I often ending up doing it. But I know I am also loved unconditionally and eternally. I have come to realize that this unconditional gift of love can transform me into a new person. I have felt these changes in me. I have become kinder and gentler. I am more ready to forgive and be compassionate. I more open to love unconditionally, without counting the cost or expecting a reward. Yes, I know I am a better person. Yet, there will still be some who will see the selfish, self-seeking person I have been many times in the past; who will still remember the proud, arrogant and insensitive person I was and sometimes still am. I am more willing to give of my time, talent and treasure but there are still times I find myself holding back on these. It is in prayer, disciplined daily prayer, that I slowly chisel out and whittle away these imperfections.
In prayer, I am made aware I am not alone. There is God who loves me unconditionally, showering me with gifts and blessings untold and often unexpected. There are the persons God has sent into my life to love me and for me to love. There are the many random people I meet everyday, who together make up the communities I am part of and who make my life possible without me even realizing it sometimes. It is a wonderful life.
Lord, let me hear your voice, saying: “If only my people would hear me, and Israel walk in my ways, I would feed them with the best of wheat, and with honey from the rock I would fill them.”
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”