I have found this heart
in the adorable Eucharist,
the heart
of my King,
of my Friend
of my Brother.

(St. Bearnard of Clairvaux)

I have posted about this prayer before but now I want to explain three things about this prayer: King, Friend and Brother. Jesus wants to have a relationship with us, and these are three key attributes to that relationship.

First, Jesus is not only our King, but He is the King of the universe, for through Him, all things were created (“all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:3).  The entire Gospel of Matthew can be summarized as the King and His Kingdom, the word “kingdom” is mentioned 54 times in Matthew, and 151 times in the entire New Testament.

“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends…” John 15:15.  In contrast to the relationship of King, a relationship of friendship with Jesus is astonishing.  It is an indicator of how much He loves us that he wants this close of a relationship.

Lastly, the concept of a relationship as a brother of Jesus is sublime: “Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Mark 3:35).  It is this brotherly relationship with Jesus that is the reason we (humanity) were created.  It is in the New and Eternal Covenant which we enter into in the Sacrament of Baptism, that we become sons and daughters of God the Father (by adoption), and then by extension Jesus (the Son of God by His nature or essence) is our Brother.

Note: I understand Jesus being our Brother is a deep subject for a blog post, so for more information look up Catholic Covenant Theology (especially by Scott Hahn, Timothy Gray, Edward Sri, Michael Barber, and Brant Pitre).

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,  and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a great voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water without price from the fountain of the water of life. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:1–5a, 6-7)

In my hospice ministry I typically pray the same prayers with the patients who are in stable condition,and a few extra prayers with those who are actively dieing or in transition.  This prayer from The Revelation to John, is a vision that St. John receives from Jesus.  I must make note that people who are terminally ill really “feel” these words from Jesus.  My favorite verse is “Behold, I make all things new.”.  For the average healthy person that may mean very little, or perhaps there will be no wrinkles in their skin or no more gray hair.  For a person whose body, whose life, is being destroyed by disease, it means so much more: in heaven there is no more cancer.

…the last petition of the Our Father has so absorbed the first and second petitions that the whole prayer is summarized in it. Hearts are no longer moved by the petition “Thy kingdom come” but rather “Deliver us from evil”. The “evil” here must be taken to refer not only to wickedness (as recent interpretations of the Our Father would suggest);…

The principle evil is death, which appears as the final enemy, the enemy that stands behind all other enemies, from whom we must seek protection in the company of the Lord and his saints.

Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for every Day of the Year, Joseph Ratzinger, 1992

In my ministry at a hospice, I pray with patients that are terminally ill.  As can be expected most of the patients have cancer, and most are elderly.  So this has effected my prayer with them as well as my personal prayer, for I am praying slower now.  With the patients, they need me to pray slowly so that they can pray with me and so that they can understand what I am saying.  This has had the effect on me that I also need to understand what I am praying, that I am not just saying prayers, repeating a predefined series of words written in the prayer books I use.

While I wear a watch at the hospice, I do not set a minimum or maximum amount of time to spend praying with any one patient.  I pray to help the patient encounter Jesus and God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.  The experience of prayer with the patients is about all about the encounter, not the speed of the words or the total number of prayers said.  Each line, each word of any prayer is important and has an effect on the person who is praying and/or a person being prayed for.

Our God is not a recording machine that counts the number of prayers we say and totals them up.  Jesus teaches us to pray by calling God “Our Father”, and our Father wants a relationship with us, for we are His sons and daughters, and He wants us to talk to Him…

A little while ago I started in a new ministry, volunteering at a Hospice. I pray with the patients and their families.  Tonight I prayed with my first patient who was actively dying, by active I mean they will pass away before the morning.  While the patient was barely conscious the family was in the room and asked me to pray.  Of the many prayers, there is one I wish to share, it is in the category called “Prayers of Commendation”:

Go forth, Christian soul, from this world
in the name of God the almighty Father, who created you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who suffered for you,
in the name of the Holy Spirit, who was poured out upon you,
go forth faithful Christian.

May you live in peace this day,
may your home be with God in Zion,
With Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with Joseph, and all the angels and saints.  Amen.

Just as God assumed a body and entered the time and space of this world, so it is appropriate to prayer—at least to communal liturgical prayer—that our speaking to God should be “incarnational”, that it should be Christological, turned through the incarnate Word to the triune God.

Joseph Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, trans. John Saward (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2000), page 76.

My comments:  To understand this think about John 14:6 “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. (RSV2CE)
It is through Jesus we can go the the Father as well as the Holy Spirit.

…prayer must become a path for ourselves on which we gradually learn to see more… Through prayer we must become more free, we must set less value on ourselves and more on him and thus discover the real purpose of prayer: to ask God for the salvation of the world…

Joseph Ratzinger, Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year, ed. Irene Grassl, trans. Mary Frances McCarthy and Lothar Krauth (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992), Page 299.

My comments:  It is stunning to understand what Pope Benedict asked(asks) us to do: pray to God for the salvation of the world.  If we compare our standard prayer requests/petitions to the “salvation of the world” we could think that our small needs are immature or selfish, but that is not what Pope Benedict is getting at.  In addition to asking Our Father for our little things, we need to ask for (pray for) big things. There is nothing bigger than asking for the Lord to save the entire world. Why? It is God’s will that the entire world be saved. So we are praying for God’s will to be done and for our cooperation in bringing about God’s will, bringing about the Kingdom of God. I can not help but think about the Divine Mercy chaplet: “…have mercy on us and on the whole world”. Yes the Divine Mercy Chaplet is a incredibly easy prayer with an incredible purpose: mercy on the whole world.

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