Our nation is perhaps now in the greatest need in its history for God’s mercy and grace. We have suffered a revolutionary and a civil war, the Great Depression, the evils of the sexual and drug revolutions that still wreak havoc on the lives of untold millions, and the list could go on and on of all the perils, as well as the blessings, the United States has experienced in its history. However, despite the protection and the prosperity the Lord has provided, we as a nation are continuing to fall short of living out the Christian witness. Immorality increases day by day, church attendance is at an all-time low, and genuine Christian charity seems to be fading.
Reading this may cause one to be discouraged and tempted into doubting God’s love in our world today, and at times, living in this world can be frustrating. However, there is still is, and will be for all eternity, a great reason to hope. The answer to all our questions in this life has always been the same: Jesus Christ!
“In the beginning was the Word,
And the Word was with God,
And the Word was God. “
One may be tempted to say, “There is more to it than just Jesus Christ.” However, for the faith-minded Christian living in today’s world, especially for one who looks back on their life before they knew Christ was working in their life, they see that it is precisely their faith in Jesus that allowed them to overcome their trials in this world.
This is clearly seen in the gospel story when Christ walks on the water and calms the stormy sea by his Word. On that night, in fear and trembling, Peter called out as he witnessed Jesus walking on the water, “Lord, if it is you, permit me to come to you.” Jesus simply said, “Come.” Peter was miraculously able to walk on the water and approach Jesus, but it was only when the doubting apostle took his eyes off the Lord that he began to sink. He cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus pulled him out of the water and once safely back in the boat asked him, “Peter, why did you doubt?” With that, the waters and the winds became calm.
If we want peace and prosperity in our lives and in our homes, we are called by the God who loves us and fashioned us in his own image to have greater faith. The only way we can have greater faith is if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ. The reason our nation and our world is suffering so much is because many of us have spent too much time looking away from Jesus. We spend so much time looking at our finances, our entertainments, our social events, our careers, our worries about our health and the future. We see around us just an avalanche of distractions that prevent us from fixing our eyes on Jesus.
We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus by the gift of prayer. In prayer, we can come into a completely different world other than what we see around us, filled with its temptations and worries. In the world of prayer with Jesus, we experience intimacy, friendship, peace, and joy. Prayer is the best kept secret in this life because it is that which opens the door to a life with Christ.
Throughout the rest of this month, I will be writing on the different aspects of prayer and what prayer in Christ Jesus can add to our lives.
May God grant you peace,
Fr. Ronald Hilt