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June 30, 2024

As part of the last Catholic generation to remember what it was like before Vatican II, I never learned how to pray from the heart.  I learned our traditional Catholic prayers from the nuns and using prayer cards, and enough Latin as an Altar Boy to pray with the priest at Mass.  Praying from the heart in front of people used to be a challenge for me.  Sometimes, it still is.  When Fr. Todd looks around for someone to close a meeting in prayer, the pressure is on!  Our seminarian, Peter, is a natural for praying from the heart at these meetings.  He also wrote the beautiful prayers I spoke at our Corpus Christi procession last month.  So, I asked Peter if he would write something for my Deacon’s Corner about how he does it

– and here it is……

Vulnus – The Latin word for ‘wound,’ and from which we derive the word ‘vulnerability.’ In any relationship, if we want to have deep levels of communion with the other person, we need to be vulnerable. This dynamic is no different when it comes to relationship with God: if we want to enter more deeply into prayer, we must be vulnerable with God. Being vulnerable involves both opening up the wounded, broken parts of ourselves (our vulneres, the plural of vulnus) and our deepest desires, taking the risk that the other person may reject or hurt us. Vulnerability is just that: vulnerable, which is why we should only be vulnerable with those whom we deem to be trustworthy. And God is trustworthy. He cares about, and cares for, every part of us. He knows where we are hurting and where we are thriving. He knows our deepest desires and our unmet needs. He cares about, and cares for, every part of us. He truly does.

However, when it comes to prayer, we often feel like we can’t be vulnerable with God. We feel like He is not safe, that He won’t really care about our desires, or that He will not truly provide for every one of our needs. And if God wasn’t safe, didn’t care, or wouldn’t provide, then hiding parts of our life from Him makes sense. But He is safe, He does care, and He does provide. If any of us have not experienced this in our lives, then I encourage us to take the risk and be vulnerable with God. See what happens. See how He responds. If we can’t go immediately to the most vulnerable parts of our hearts and bring them to God, that is okay. He is patient. He is a loving Father. And He delights in us. My encouragement is for all of us to pray from the heart at least once this week, which means being vulnerable with God. Set aside at least ten minutes this week and honestly, vulnerably speak to God from the Heart. He will hear you.

Thank you Peter! I hope others find this as inspiring as I do. May all of you have a Blessed Independence Day!

Deacon John

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