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This is the very nature of prayer

"This is the very nature of prayer, that it raises one from earth to heaven, higher than every heavenly name and dignity, and brings one before the very God of all." - St. Gregory Palamas

This reflection is based on II Timothy 1:1-8. Whether written by St. Paul or a disciple of St. Paul’s after his death, the words are emotion filled, they reveal tenderness and quite confidence. The letter situates Paul in jail in Rome, awaiting his imminent death. It reads like a last testament, enlivened by intimate details. St Paul longs to see Timothy, whom he calls, “my beloved child.” Paul acknowledges his painful captivity and commends Lois and Eunice for their faithful example. He exhorts Timothy (and those who read and hear the letter to keep their faith alive, in the boldness of the Spirit.

The epistle reminds us that our faith is not a relic preserved far from human reach; but lives and breathes in real people who care deeply about one another and who need encouragement from time to time. The letter realistically points out the challenges of faithful living, but it also affirms the consolation of God’s strength and loving presence, which is often mediated through people we met, during our very ordinary days.

Imagine writing such a letter today. Is there someone in your life who needs your encouragement? Have you been waiting to tell someone how dear they are to you? Is there a Lois and Eunice in your life whom you want to thank for helping you grow in faith, hope, and love? Do you long to write your own testimony of faith, however complicated or muddled it might be? The words may come freely, but if they do not, remember that the Spirit of God – hardly a weak or cowardly Spirit – stirs in and around you too, helping you craft your own epistle.

Hear our prayer, O Lord: bless, protect and sanctify all those who bow their heads before You.

Blessings to all. M

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