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Praying with Jesus
Tuesday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground. A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured. Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all.
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, I come before you in this moment of prayer, and, as I strive to awaken my heart to your presence, I am reminded by this passage that you always keep me present in your heart. You know my face and my name and no detail of my life is lost on you. Pray for me to the Father, as you did for the Twelve Apostles that night. Grant me the grace to hear you and to follow you.
- Jesus at Prayer: This passage presents Jesus taking time away from the crowds, even from his growing circle of close friends and followers, to spend time in prayer with God the Father. The purpose of everything Jesus said and did was–and still is–to teach us how to speak and how to live. Every day we are faced with millions (or so it seems) of demands, distractions, worries, changing plans, and uncertainties. Perhaps if we had things in proper order, we could be freer to pray. But so often, we just simply “don’t have the time” for prayer. Let us open our hearts to learn from the example of Christ. Even if his mission (or precisely because his mission) was the redemption of the world, he made the time to pause and pray.
- What Did He Pray For?: We know that on other occasions Jesus went away to pray, and his disciples saw this. What was it like to see Jesus at prayer? What must that deep, inner communion with his Father have looked like, have been like? What did Jesus say to his Father in prayer? Perhaps he prayed for those whom he would call by name, those whom his touch would heal. And while saints and mystics throughout the centuries have sought to enter into this very prayer of Jesus, we also can find further insight in Luke 11:1, where, in answer to the disciples’ question, Jesus taught them the Our Father.
- Mission, The Fruit of Prayer: Only after spending the night in prayer did Jesus call those disciples whom he wished to make his closest followers—the Twelve Apostles. What example did Jesus wish to give his apostles—and us? While the answer is unfathomable, because the Heart of Jesus is unfathomable, we can at least catch a glimpse of it: the true fruitfulness of ministry in God’s name comes from spending time with him in prayer.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, you taught me how to pray and you wish to pray in me, to the Father. I ask you: Teach me how to pray better, to intercede for others, to pray with greater faith, more resilient hope, and purer love. Come and pray in me, Jesus, and teach me to hear you.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will set aside some specific time to spend with you in prayer, even if I feel I am too busy to do so.
For Further Reflection: Find Gospel passages (Luke 11:1 is one example) to reflect on Jesus at prayer.
Beth Van de Voorde is a Regnum Christi Consecrated Woman, currently serving in pastoral ministry to families in Madrid, Spain. When she’s not reading Ratzinger or humming along to some song or another, you may find her making her pilgrim way through Spain’s timeless history of faith, walking alongside the beautiful families she’s there to serve.