My Sisters and Brothers! We will never understand Abram, - by the way it is the same man whom we know as Abraham, but what we read today happened before God changed his name to Abraham; so we will never understand Abram if we only focus on his age because today’s reading is about God coming down to a man. Although Abram says nothing in the passage but this passage it is an example of prayer. Even if you ask a little child what prayer is about the answer you get usually is: “It is a conversation with God.” It means that God speaks to us and we respond. However when I investigate further and ask what it means to converse with God I usually get some awkward silence for the answer. When we look at our first reading about the conversation between God and Abram we don’t get any words spoken by Abram but there is no awkward silence either. What was Abram contribution to that conversation? “Abram went as the Lord told him.” Abram didn’t simply talk to God but he did what God told him to do. His journey from the homeland to the land God promised him was Abram’s response to God, that journey he undertook was his prayer.
In Lent we hear often that prayer is an integral part of this Holy Season and I would like to encourage you to read this short passage from the beginning of Chapter 12 of Genesis often to learn how to pray, but read the whole of the verse 4. This short passage which took the aged man into a new land will take you to a new land too, the land where prayer is more than just words but it is doing what God’s word tells you to do.
Let me share with you some prayer experience from my life. Some time ago I was told about the Novena of Our Lady of Pompeii. Basically it is praying 4 Rosaries every day for 54 days. I have done a few such Novenas so far in various intentions. The most powerful outcome of such Novena is that your life is transformed completely. If you decide to say one Hail Mary every day for 54 days that doesn’t demand much, you can fit it easily into your schedule but if you want to pray 4 Rosaries every day for 54 days you need to plan each day carefully. Then your prayer isn’t just an activity in your day but your days start circulating around prayer, then Christ becomes the center of your life, you start prioritizing differently. At the moment I am doing such a Novena I have just passed 40 days and you know what I am 3 weeks behind of “Home and away” story line. I don’t watch much of telly but this show is my little daily relaxation. Well, at the moment I cannot afford to watch it, I don’t have time for that.
Do you want to know what I pray for this time: for one vocation to the Oblates. I am not praying for many, even if I wanted to have many, but I am praying for one. I am hoping that this prayer is like the efforts of a gardener who keeps watering his precious plant. One vocation to the priesthood is so precious that it is worth time and effort. I think that sometimes we think that if we say 3 Hail Marys it should be enough to get us a few hundred priests, brothers and nuns but who is going to take care of the developing vocation? We need to accompany the person in this vocation growth. However such an accompaniment has a side effect it changes the one who prays too. One of such side effects is that you become less demanding in your prayer but more humble and trusting.