In the past two weeks, we’ve seen St. John Chrysostom give us paths of repentance. The first was the willful condemnation of our own sins and faults so that we are not accused at the judgement seat. We will have already done so and thereby asked for God’s mercy and forgiveness.
The second was to put out of our minds the harm done to us by others. To perseveringly put out of our minds those offences, especially those that would rouse anger and create more hurt. To forgive as we desire to be forgiven.
The third is short, so I’m including the fourth as well:
Do you want to know of a third path? It consists of prayer that is fervent, careful and comes from the heart. If you want to hear of a fourth, I will mention almsgiving, whose power is great and far-reaching.
Fervent prayer is part of a mature Christian life. It’s easy to look around and see or hear things to pray for. They don’t have to be long drawn out prayers. “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner.” “Lord Jesus, help me.” “Lord, give me the strength.” “Jesus, Mary, & Joseph, help me.” There are numerous ways in which prayers can emanate from our heart and pour off our lips. We have to be intentional though. Being fervent on Sunday won’t get us to where God desires us to be. The more often we pray and the more often we invite God into our daily struggles, hardships, and joys, the more we will find ourselves talking and listening to him.
The fourth is almsgiving. I mentioned in my homily a few weeks ago about how important almsgiving is. Giving in prayerful charity towards others removes a multitude of sins. There are whole books and treatises written about Charity. There is a fantastic book on this subject that I recommend — Charity: The Place of the Poor in the Biblical Tradition by Gary Anderson. We can never discount the good done to those in need.
So, here’s a few more things to think of in your life and prayer: the importance of repentance, the value of fervent prayer, and the eternal good of giving alms.
Fr. Scott and Fr. Mark plan to trade months in offering a weekly reflection or catechesis in our future bulletins. Be sure to check out what they have to share!