THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Fifth Sunday after Easter
21 May 2017
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Martha and Mary (the sisters of Lazarus) both prayed by their actions. Our very lives are prayers. Martha prayed to the Humanity of Jesus, seeking to serve Him in His humanity. Mary was more taken by the invisible Divinity of Jesus. The position of Mary, sitting at the feet of Our Lord, only appears to be passive. She was active in the inner movements of her soul. Both prayed and both did well, but Mary has chosen the better part.
The corporal works are necessary and we should not neglect them; however, the spiritual works are better and therefore more important. Just as we should not neglect the corporal works under the guise of performing only spiritual works; so we should not do the opposite and neglect the spiritual works because we are too busy with the corporal ones. Jesus heals both bodies and souls. There is no doubt that He desires the life of our souls more so than the life of our bodies, but He did cure both. We must therefore take care of both our bodies and our souls. We must care for the physical well being of our neighbors as well as their souls.
Many humanitarians put forth a lot of effort for the physical well being of their fellow men, but have little or no concern for their souls. Some pretend to a desire to save souls, but neglect the care of bodies. We are called upon to pursue the treasures of the soul, but not to neglect the care of the body. We are composed of both body and soul, and must take care of both, the preference always given to the care of our souls. We must be ready to sacrifice this body and life if it is necessary to save the life of our souls.
Many only know how to petition in their prayers. The prayers of love, adoration, and worship are seldom thought of. God would have us come to Him, first because we love Him and humbly acknowledge that He is our Savior, Lord, and God. He would not have us waste this time in puerile petitions for the cares of this flesh. He instructs us to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and Its Justice, and everything else will be given us besides. We are not to worry what we shall eat, or wear, or where we shall sleep. Our Father in Heaven knows that we need all these things. He provides them for everyone. His rain falls upon the good and the bad together. The sun shines upon all alike. In our prayers, we should be grateful for all these things, but the principle aspect of our prayers should be directed to what we owe to God, rather than what we want from Him.
Next we must persevere in prayer. Abraham was promised many children, but he and his wife continued into old age past the natural time for bearing children. When all natural means of God fulfilling His promise had departed, God showed His mercy and gave Abraham a son. Abraham persevered in faith and hope and his prayer was answered in God's time. The Israelites prayed to enter the Promised Land, but they had to persevere in this prayer for forty years as they wandered in the desert.
We are cautioned that we must make certain that our prayers are worthy. It is unbecoming to pray for things that are unworthy of placing before God. We should not seek and pray for riches, or power, nor should we petition for things that are evil or harmful to our bodies or souls. God knows what is best for us, and we should be content with what He gives us. We must do what is required for bodies, and trust that God will do the rest. Worthy prayers should be principally for spiritual things that are good for us, and nothing that may prove harmful to our souls. Most importantly, we must make sure that we are worthy to present ourselves before God in prayer. We should examine ourselves and purge out everything that is offensive to God, and always remain humble. In this manner, we are more acceptable to God and therefore our prayers are more likely to be acceptable.
Many times people pray for what they think are good things, but God knows that what they pray for is detrimental to their souls, and so He does not answer these prayers. In our prayers, therefore, we should always seek that God's Will be done; or that God only give us what we petition if it will redound to His honor and glory and the salvation of our souls.
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