Divine Mercy Articles

St. Faustina and Blessed Fr. Sopocko Imageby Sr. Maksymiliana, Sisters of the Merciful Jesus

A notorious “lack of time” is a syndrome of the world we live in. Like a precious commodity, every minute in today’s world is scrupulously counted and faster cars or faster computers don’t seem to help us that much. But, at the same time, a great amount of time is literally “leaking through our fingers". The average European citizen watches more than 5 hours of TV everyday. Is this really necessary? So, you have to ask yourself: do we have time or not?

The reality is that we live in very troubled times and we inherit the spirit and mentality of this world, a place where people are more and more impatient, living life in the fast lane. It is a world that wants things right away, wants to see immediate effects; it is a world that believes in the strength of intellect, in its ability to organize and to be highly efficient.

Unfortunately this world doesn’t always see the need for spirituality; it is a world that does not like silence and does not seem to believe in prayer anymore. People do not give enough time to prayer. None of us wants to be identified with such a world, but we are still part of it, we live in it and its mentality rubs off.

The call we all received as Christians is to preach the Good News, and whoever wants to follow this call, has to pray. Like the work of any apostolate, Divine Mercy apostolate prayer must be active. Prayer is not a pause in this work, but is the key factor when we must make decisions.

Our time for prayer is a sacred time that activates our spirit and our spiritual energy. It brings to life the apostolic character in every Christian. Do not turn to God only when you ask for something or you fear the unknown; do not turn to God just because you have time available and you don’t know what to do with it.

Prayer is essential for all human life, for the simple reason that God created human life and as Blessed Fr. Sopocko wrote, “out of His generosity, God wants to give us many gifts, but makes dependent His graces on our free will and on our prayer which is a key to His Mercy.

These graces are like a fountain, but to benefit from it, you need to bring a vessel to the fountain: this vessel is humble and confident prayer. Throw yourself on your knees before God and expose your heart to Him.”

We have to realize that without Him we cannot survive even for one minute. Without this “permanent link” to God, we cannot live life to its potential. The more active we are, the more we need to make time for prayer, otherwise it is very easy to burn-out both mentally and spiritually. When Cardinal Martini said to some young priests, that they needed at least half an hour a day for personal prayer, one of them replied, “Your Eminence, we get up early every morning, we celebrate Holy Mass, then we run to the school, then back again, we barely have time to eat breakfast and then we have to be back in the parish office, and you are asking us to spend half an hour adoration?” At this, the Cardinal thought for a moment then said, “Indeed, it seems this priest needs more than half an hour for prayer, maybe even one hour.”

This is a valid spiritual advice for all of us, the busier we are, the more we need time for prayer. But time for prayer won’t come by itself; you have to “take it back”. On a spiritual level, prayer is our “to be or not to be.” To find time for prayer, you need to know what are the most important thing in your life. Here you need a clear awareness of your priorities.

Of course, there are many essential things in life, like family, caring for your loved ones, your job, etc. But prayer is important to support all of this. For someone whose work is the most important thing, you must support it with prayer. Your family is so important to you so you must support this relationship with prayer. Life cannot become just an endless circle of “work-food-sleep”!

If you first make prayer your priority, then family, work, relationships, will follow naturally. Commitment to work, family and other relationships without prayer every day can destroy your most important relationship of all, that which supports everything else, your relationship with God. If you first tell me what your life is like, I can then tell you what your prayer life is like.

But we cannot have a good prayer life without the help of the Holy Spirit. Without the help of God’s Spirit within us, we do not have the ability either to praise God or thank Him or to beg Him for forgiveness…It is the spirit who descends into our hearts, to pray with us and in us.

Prayer is not a gift from man to God, but the opposite – a gift from God to man. A man must be attentive, open, and sensitive to God. “How rain and sun brought forth fruit to the earth” – says Blessed Fr. Sopocko, so we need God’s grace in matters of faith so that we will proceed according to it.

God wants to help us always, but we must ask Him for that help. Although God knows our every need, His Grace or Mercy will not be imposed on us by force, He requires that we freely accept His graces and ask for them. God has given us everything we need, but He needs our consent.

Ultimately, prayer is not about words, or the number of words we say. God needs to see our love not only for Him but for all others in our world. Then our prayer becomes our gift to God.

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St. Eunan's Cathedral, Letterkenny, Donegal, Ireland

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