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Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


(a reflection on Luke 18:1-8, the widow and unjust judge)
by: Deacon Paul Rooney
I hope that none of you have superstitious notions.  According to a BBC poll just this year, it seems like one in three college kids think it worth giving "lucky underwear" a try, especially just before a college exam!

 If you have ever watched "Track and Field" events in the Olympic games, back in the era of the famous Carl Lewis in the late 1980's, perhaps you may remember the name of an Olympic marathon "hopeful" by the name of Margaret Groos, a girl from Tennessee.  Before she eventually had to withdraw from competitive sports because of a hyperthyroid condition, someone asked her the reason for her early success.  Her answer made it into the "famous quotes" archives.  She said this:

"When I was 15, I had lucky underwear. When that failed, I had a lucky hairdo, then a lucky race number, even lucky race days.  After 15 [more] years, I’ve found the secret to success is simple.  It’s [just] hard work." http://www.quoteswave.com/text-quotes/392817

Perseverance in good actions is always the answer, isn't it?  God gave each one of us certain gifts and skills, and He wants us to use them.  God did NOT say, "Don't forget to go to work today without your Rabbit's foot."  NOR did he say, "Make sure you read your horoscope today, it will guide you."  And He certainly did NOT say, "Don't forget to wear your lucky underwear."  What he did say is found in the First Commandment.

Well, in today's gospel we have a story of another woman who persevered.  However, she did not get her way with the judge because she wore lucky underwear.  Instead, she simply kept asking, and asking, and asking, until finally he gave in to her request for justice.  The story is pretty straight-forward.  If someone like an unjust human judge will give in to persistent pleas for help, don't you think that a just God  will respond to persistent pleas for justice?  Of course He will!

But here is the key: are we willing to be patient and allow God to respond in His own way and in His own time? This requires faith, believing that the Lord hears and will answer all prayers that are in accord with His will.

There is a footnote in the bible [NABRE] which says that persistent prayer is needed to avoid apostasy, and this is a sad truth. We all know someone who has simply stopped going to Mass.  That act of straying from the Sacraments has its roots in the non-existence of a real prayer life. I think we all know what happens when our prayer life becomes lax, or when we find excuses not to take quality time to pray.  Eventually this kind of spiritual sloth expands. When Jesus is not at the center of our daily lives, the virtues become harder to live out, and the vices and occasions of sin seem to crop up much more frequently as the enemy gains a foothold in our life. The deadly danger is the short distance between laxity in prayer and eventual apostasy, which is the complete rejection and repudiation of the Christian faith, by deeds if not by public assertion.

To avoid this deadly path to an inactive spiritual life, we need to heed the gospel message today: be persistent in seeking justice, and be persistent in our prayer life. A great image is presented in the First Reading (Exodus 17:8-13). As long as Moses had his hands raised in intercessory prayer, the battle went well for the Israelites. But when he stopped interceding with prayer, the enemy gained an advantage. And when others joined Moses to help him with the intercession, the battle against the enemy was won.

This is what Our Lady, the Queen of Peace, who continues to appear at Medjugorje since 1981, has been urging upon all Catholics: to pray persistently for peace (she tells us that "there will be no peace without prayer and fasting"), and to pray persistently for our priests to help them in their intercession for us.  She asks us to pray the rosary daily; to fast on bread and water on both Wednesdays and Fridays; to read scripture daily; to attend Mass every Sunday and as often on weekdays as possible; and to go to Confession monthly.

So there is our roadmap, from scripture, from the Mother of God, and from Jesus: persistent intercession, and perseverance in our daily prayer life.  Remember the way our gospel started today, and I quote: "Then [Jesus] told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary."  That is the key to victory in spiritual warfare!  All you need to do is use it!  (+)

Deacon Paul Rooney
Mary Our Queen Parish, Omaha

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  1. I thought someone had hijacked the blog when I saw the title, and then I saw your name attached to it so I had to read it: Wow! You have so much wisdom and you present it so clearly! Perseverance is a problem, and when I fail to persevere there is always that little voice that tells you not to get back to your prayer or fasting: "you ruined it" and it "will never work" which also treats these spiritual practices as though they were magic formulas instead of actions that build up strong virtue and an intimate relationship with Christ. So if you failed to persevere in prayer, repent and get back to it, like Moses put your arms back up - persevere in repentance!

    Thanks Deacon Paul! God bless!

  2. Great advice and a good comparison of perseverance to superstition. One works, one is foolish (what a hoot: "powerful panties"!).

  3. How true...how sad. Yes, so many who fall away had a weak if any prayer life. Thank you for writing this post. N


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