Sunday, July 22, 2018
But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. – Matthew 6:6
Christ teaches by way of contrast. Oh, you can make your prayers a showy public display of your devotion, but the more rewarding, satisfying, meaningful prayers are made privately in an intimate conversation with God. Yet still today … I observe the displays of showy devotion and I observe the quiet prayers of saints.
Throughout Christian history there has flowed this stream of “showy” religion. Sometimes we call it ecstatic religion; sometimes we call it enthusiastic religion; sometimes we call it holy-roller religion … and their prayers are still valid though weakened by the rewards of public recognition. Though they try to put the focus of God, in actuality, they split the focus between God and themselves. Christ offered a more meaningful, helpful, even more purely holy manner of prayer … that prayer that only you and God can hear.
Here in this private room, this room that is within one’s own soul, one can be honest without fear of the judgment of others. Here in this private room, one can listen without fear of the silence and begin to hear both the whispers of God and the echoes of one’s own words as they journey back from heaven. Here in this private room, one can make the heartfelt confession and experience the life-changing mercy of God. Here in this private room, ego can dissipate so that the soul might emerge. Here in this private room, one can drift into heaven and heaven can drift into you.
Christ often prayed in public. So praying in public is not a sin except for the reasons of why. But the greater reward, the greater gain, the greater peace, the greater wisdom is gained when we pray in that private place.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz