Fr Mark, publishes a blog that I have come to visit regularly, Vultus Christi. Besides being is thing of visual beauty, he always seems to post things of real interest, an uncommon virtue in the blogosphere these days. But his posts are often more than just interesting. I don’t know how many times, since I discovered his blog, that struggling with an issue, or having a question come up in my mind, he has written a post that deals with the question. This post is just one example.
Specifically, my question, or rather, something that has been niggling in the outer edges of my consciousness, is my own conduct, if you will, in prayer. I feel I have gotten lazy. After my injury, especially, while bedridden and/or unable to move around very much, I took to regular prayer lying down. This habit has continued, really subconsciously. It has simply been a habit. The great saints would not approve of this kind of behavior. Fr Mark reminded me of this in his post, and provided the following summary of thoughts on the subject from Cardinal Newman:
The Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman teaches that the gift of the Holy Ghost that we call fear is the expression of faith. By fear Newman means profound reverence in the presence of God. “Can anything be clearer,” says Cardinal Newman, “than that the want of fear is nothing else but the want of faith, and that in consequence we in this age are approaching in religious temper that evil day of which it is said, ‘When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?’(Lk 18:8).” The loss of reverence, the loss of holy fear, is an unmistakable sign of the loss of faith.
Acts of Faith Cardinal Newman continues: “What, will you ask, are acts of faith? Such as these — to come often to prayer, is an act of faith; to kneel down instead of sitting, is an act of faith; to strive to attend to your prayers, is an act of faith; to behave in God’s House otherwise than you would behave in a common room, is an act of faith; to come to it on weekdays as well as Sundays, is an act of faith; to come often to the Most Holy Sacrament, is an act of faith; and to be still and reverent during that sacred service, is an act of faith. These are all acts of faith, because they are all acts, such as we should perform, if we saw and heard Him who is present though with our bodily eyes, we see and hear Him not. But “blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed;” for, be sure, if we thus act, we shall, through God’s grace, be gradually endued with the spirit of His holy fear. We shall in time, in our mode of talking and acting, in our religious services and in our daily conduct, manifest, not with constraint and effort, but spontaneously and naturally, that we fear Him while we love Him.” (Parochial Sermons 5)
If we don’t act like we believe, pretty soon we won’t believe. The manner in which we worship affects our worship. If I am lazy in prayer, my faith will grow weak and flabby. Certainly, an undesirable situation, and one that is easily fixed. I have a couple of bad habits to break.