Pastoral Vision Letter #3
A common issue between couples, and among families, is the struggle to communicate. It’s not that we are unable to speak or maintain conversations, but rather, we struggle to clearly express our needs and, more importantly, to listen. In terms of our faith, we sometimes feel distant to God because of our inability to communicate with Him. But if we want Christ to be the Center of Our Lives, we must first know who Jesus is, we must begin to grow in a relationship with Him. The only way to accomplish this is by experiencing His presence in our active Sacramental life and by investing time in communicating with Him through prayer.
Living Our Faith through a Renewed Commitment to Prayer
(2 Timothy 1:4-5)
Prayer was an essential part of St. Paul’s life. His letters often mention his deep prayer life and relationship with Christ. For St. Paul, prayer was not an obligation or a burden, but precious time to pour out his heart to God. He had no specific gimmicks or conditions in his prayer—as we are sometimes tempted to do—it was simply an intimate time with his beloved; sharing his joys and struggles and to being attentive to God’s guiding Spirit. Perhaps, this type of prayer is a struggle for us. We search for special techniques or secrets—“easy” steps that will guide us to obtain a fuller understanding of God—but we fail to express our heart to Him; to remain in the stillness of His love and become comfortable in the quietness where He resides. If our desire is to be in relationship with God, then we must learn to pray. And like all forms of communication, prayer requires that we both listen and respond. Our Vision of prayer must be an active and whole-hearted pursuit of God. Being in relationship with God means that we passionately pursue His will, that we dare to believe—without any doubt—in the impossible.
In 1928, a group of forward-thinking Franciscans built a small Mission in Indio, and now, 87 years later, Our Lady of Perpetual Help stands as a testament of their faith, hope and generosity. Trusting in God’s providence, we have been challenged many times to grow and expand. Even today, we are still being challenged to trust in God’s infinite generosity and to continue to grow. We have experienced the impossible before, simply think back to our recent past when the hosts from our stolen tabernacle were returned unharmed after more than a year of not knowing their whereabouts. “By his mighty power at work within us, God is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope” (Eph. 3:20). If we desire to renew our prayer life, then we must pursue God’s heart in prayer.
I firmly believe that God desires that we come to intimately know Him. That we share our heart with Him as He shares His heart with us. Renewing our Vision of Prayer requires that we first understand that our Church is, above all, a house of prayer and that her ministries are founded in prayer. To recognize that prayer doesn’t prepare us for battle; prayer is the battle. May all our actions—our building up of the Church through our financial offerings, our work in ministry, or our quality time spent as family—have their source and flow from an active and faithful prayer life. May we begin to renew our relationship with God today.