June 30, 2011

Prayer and Fighting for Marriage


One of the ways Mother Teresa of Calcutta fought poverty was she taught families to pray together.  Typically, she would teach the Rosary.   Getting parents to pray with each other and their children gave people hope where there seemed to be none and it helped married couples find love when love seemed most absent.   Ironically, she is said to have stated that the greatest poverty she ever encountered, she discovered here in America.  She was very disturbed to find people dying of loneliness and isolation in our most modern metropolises.  The recent efforts in many States to redefine marriage will only make this particular form of poverty more acute.  It is time for us to learn a lesson from Blessed Teresa and rediscover prayer in our family life.

Mother Teresa was wise to see prayer as something much more than a mere esoteric exercise.  It is vital to the affairs of this world, here and now.  That is why marriage needs prayer.  In fact, it is first of all in marriage that the art of prayer is supposed to be passed on.  If people are losing the fight for marriage in society, it is only because very few marriages are fighting for their love with prayer.  Can anyone adequately defend true love if he does not truly pray? Indeed, only prayer can address the deep seated lack of courage that seems to have taken hold of us in both the public square and our own homes.

So long as people of prayer do not engage the fray and make their voices heard, our families and our society will always be vulnerable to unchallenged and dehumanizing cultural and political forces.  Along these lines and contrary to contemporary prejudice, it is not compassionate to be tolerant of all forms of fornication, contraception, abortion, pornography, prostitution, and divorce.  The truth about the heartache and human carnage left in the wake of such practices must be made known.  Is it really mean-spirited or unenlightened to dare take a stand for what is truly human?  The truth is, even if we do not find sufficient charity in our hearts to do what our faith demands, simple justice requires that we speak up when something as sacred and beautiful as marriage is under attack.  This is true not only in society but also in our own homes.  As Blessed Teresa explains:  "There is a terrible hunger for love. We all experience that in our lives - the pain, the loneliness. We must have the courage to recognize it. The poor you may have right in your own family.  Find them.  Love them."

If there is a failure in courage on our part, it is because, as Christians, we do not pray as we should.  When we do not pray, we do not encounter the Lord and without encountering the Lord, we will never find sufficient confidence to speak the truth in the face of power, or to love in the face of hatred.  Here again, the wisdom of Mother Teresa is helpful:  "Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness."  As cited by EWTN.