God expects us to fulfill His plans in our life with the power He gives.
Prayer is the fuel that drives Christian life. We are all different vehicles created by God for Him to travel around and reach various destinations. Just as a vehicle can offer maximum mileage only if it maintains an optimum combination of fuel and oil, the mileage (the souls we gain for Christ) will directly depend on the fuel (prayer) and oil (love) within us.
If a vehicle does not give us the mileage that is claimed of it, one of the first things we do, is to take it to the service station. The service station as far as a Christian is concerned is the confessional. Another important factor is the quantum of air (Word of God) in the tyres. A punctured tyre can take even a good vehicle nowhere.
Over the years God has and still continues to design vehicles with specific mileage to reach various destinations. One such vehicle He designed for His journey in Kerala (His own country) is St. Alphonsa of Bharananganam. That she had a wonderful prayer life is quite obvious from this prayer of hers. “O Lord Jesus, hide me in the wound of your sacred heart. Free me from my desire to be loved and esteemed. Guard me from my evil attempts to win fame and honor. Make me humble till I become a small spark in the flame of love in your Sacred Heart. Grant me the grace to forget myself and all worldly things. Jesus, sweet beyond words, convert all worldly consolations into bitterness for me. O my Jesus, Sun of Justice, enlighten my intellect and mind with your sacred rays. Purify my heart, consume me with burning love for you, and make me one with you.”
A prayer becomes a prayer only when it comes out of a person’s heart.
It becomes even more meaningful and powerful if it follows the scripture and its sentiment. Very often our prayers reflect the desires or states of our heart. This prayer of St. Alphonsa which has all the ingredients required for the recipe for saintly life, reflects the true state of her heart. A heart that was full of the optimum combination of prayer, love and the Word of God. Each time we pray this little prayer, it reminds us of this saint’s devotion, attitude and faith. It reminds us of her devotion towards the Sacred Heart of Jesus (a powerful medium for sanctification), her attitude towards fame and honor and her attitude towards the world and its objects of comfort.
Joshua 3:5 goes thus – And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.” This sentiment is reflected in the line – purify my heart. One of the vices that seems to have smitten the current generation is its quest for fame and honor. They are willing to do anything for fame and honor. Exodus 23:2 states – “You shall not follow a multitude to do evil; nor shall you bear witness in a suit, turning aside after a multitude, so as to pervert justice;” this sentiment is very obvious in the line – ‘Guard me from my evil attempts to win fame and honor.’
The quest for justice and wisdom is obvious in – O my Jesus, Sun of Justice, enlighten my intellect and mind with your sacred rays. Jesus, sweet beyond words, reflects the confidence of a person who is in close touch with Christ. It is in fact a different way of looking at Psalms 34:8–“O taste and see that the LORD is good! Happy is the man who takes refuge in him!”
Though St. Alphonsa had to endure weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ she prayed for the grace, the very same grace that the Lord promised to St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 :9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” It was this grace that made her forget herself and all that she had to endure in her quest for Jesus and His kingdom. Little wonder then that this vehicle still continues to offer its designer – maximum mileage.
– – – written by Lajan Miranda