At the end of July, I had the opportunity to concelebrate the Baccalaureate Mass for St. Sebastian’s School. During the Mass, Fr. John Arens preached a truly remarkable homily. With his permission, I sent the homily out in our weekly email, but want to give you some excerpts here. At times he refers to some items in a Book of Prayer that had been given to the graduates:
Included in the pages of your gift is one of many quotes, which we could ponder for life. It is this: “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing” (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.). It is a powerful truth in the reality of believers in any circumstance. We could as well say, to be fully and truly human, we give the breath of our prayer life for each other from whatever place we are on our spiritual journey. The life of our prayer is Love – Love breathes life into us – God who is Love is always breathing the life of Love into each of us. Also in your Book of Prayer is this quote from St. Thérèse of Lisieux: “How often have I thought that I may owe all the graces I have received to the prayers of a person who has begged them from God for me.”
How are we begging grace for one another? How are we sharing in our prayer the breath of Love’s life? How are we reverencing the breath of life in our brothers and sisters in this human family? This is a question we cannot ignore – our own breathing depends on our answer. And thus it is that we go to the Source from whence cometh all life.
The life-blood and breath of our human existence is God-given, and in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist we are incorporated into the Body of Christ, of which, then, we are each a part and a unity of endless prayer. Christ’s boundless love draws all and every person into the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, and the kingdom of forever in love…. Moral choices, virtuous change, compassion, justice, freedom are the fruits to share from a healthy prayer life….All that is good is nourished by the constancy of our prayer which is holding in our hearts and hands the sure truth that injustice to any one among us is injustice to all of us…. Love breathes life into us. Love breathes love into us.