Praying with Pure Hearts

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Saturday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time


Matthew 17:14-20

When they came to the crowd a man approached, knelt down before him, and said, “Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Jesus said in reply, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him here to me.” Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him, and from that hour the boy was cured. Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”


Opening Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, come into my heart, purify me, and lead me through this encounter with the Trinity.


Encountering Christ:


  1. The Father’s Prayer: We see here a father’s heart at prayer. This man knelt down before Jesus, and said, “Lord, have pity on my son…” We can imagine how deeply these words penetrated the heart of Jesus. He was moved to compassion for both that boy and his father. Why was this father’s prayer so powerful? 
  2. Openness to God: This father was persevering and confident in the power of Jesus. “I brought him to your disciples but they could not cure him,” the man told Jesus. When we do not get what we expect from prayer, do we wallow in disappointment, discouragement, or anger? Or do we pray to be more patient, persevering, and humble? Do we recognize that our “failures in prayer” could be one way God strengthens our faith? 
  3. A Mustard Seed of Faith: Pure hearts are faith-filled and faithful, and God hears the pleas of these just souls: “The clean of hand and pure of heart, who has not given his soul to useless things, what is vain. He will receive blessings from the Lord” (Psalms 24:4-5). We must continually look at the motivations of our hearts and beg the Lord to increase our faith and purify us. The purer we are, the more effective is our prayer. And, as Jesus reminds us, the pure hearted can move mountains in the establishment of his kingdom here on earth. 



Conversing with Christ: Oh my Lord, I know you want me to have a clean heart and I am willing to pay any sacrificial price you ask of me. Show me where I need purification and give me the strength to do what is necessary, so that I can move mountains on your behalf and for your glory. 


Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pray to hear and discern what you want to purify in me and seek out the sacrament of reconciliation as a first step.


For Further Reflection: The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis.

Father Bernardo Torres, LC, was born and raised in Mexico City. He has certifications for couple’s therapy and currently works in Louisiana with young adults helping them to grow deeper in their faith.

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