Monday, November 21, 2011

Prayer Is A Battle

(This post is also entitled "What I wish someone had told me three years ago when I started Carmel because I have spent a long time banging up my shins wandering around in the dark, totally confused as to why praying is so hard for me.)

Gentle readers, did you know that our dear Catechism defines prayer as a battle?

It's a fight!
It's a bloody, no gloved, unfair bar room brawl.
The fight goes back to Genesis, when our ancestor Jacob fought all night with an unseen force and "refused to give up until he had been blessed."

It's important to remember that Jacob, walked away from that successful fight --LIMPING because his thigh socket had gotten thrust out of joint. (Did it ever heal, I ask?)

Here are the elegant, inspiring words of our Catechism:


2725 Prayer is both a gift of grace and a determined response on our part. It always presupposes effort. The great figures of prayer of the Old Covenant before Christ, as well as the Mother of God, the saints, and he himself, all teach us this: prayer is a battle. Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God. We pray as we live, because we live as we pray. If we do not want to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ, neither can we pray habitually in his name. The "spiritual battle" of the Christian's new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer."
(Read the whole glorious section on Prayer is a battle here.)

When we pray, we need to battle distractions. We need to battle discouragement. We need to battle our inherent selfishness. We need to overcome obstacles both internal and external in order to seek union with God.

Indeed, the whole thing is so impossible for mere stupid mortals, the Holy Spirit has to come down to be our Advocate.

Prayer is not something easy and relaxing to do in your spare time--something like scrap-booking or crochet, my darlings. Prayer is hard work that makes us fit Marines for Jesus!