Priest emphasizes the importance of prayerFew things can transcend heterogeneity like laughter, tears and prayer. The universal, fundamental experience of prayer was evident in Father Dennis Monaghan’s message yesterday during the English Mass at Myeongdong Cathedral.
“Mass is the center of our prayer life,” Father Monaghan said before a congregation of about 100 people, which included worshippers from France, Ireland, the Philippines and Thailand. Accordingly, he said, prayer is the center of the Catholic life.
The priest, who hails from Ireland, began his sermon with an oft-quoted passage from the Gospel: “Ask and ye shall receive; seek and ye shall find.” He then related the tale of a friend, a fellow man of the cloth, who suffered from a fear of flying. He would down three Manhattan cocktails before boarding a plane. Once seated, he would promise God to give up drinking in exchange for a safe landing.
As soon as the prayer was granted, however, “the first thing he’d do is head over to the airport bar,” Father Monaghan said.
“We never pray as hard as we do when we’re in trouble,” Father Monaghan said. And yet, he continued, even though most human promises fall short of their good intentions, they are still better than no promise at all.
Prayer should not be regarded as a gargantuan undertaking, as neither burdensome nor heroic, but as a simple, daily act of conversation, he said.
“Prayer, really, is just talking to God,” he said.
by Kim Sun-jung