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Can we understand Scripture without Prayer?

Your understanding of Scripture is as good as your prayer

Scott Hahn once said something to the effect that you're in trouble if you prefer talking about the Lord than talking to the Lord. Look, teaching Scripture is great, don't get me wrong, but it pales by comparision to the silent comtemplation of the Lord. In fact nothing gets even close to that. I'm not making this up. The Lord did, and since He is God we can trust that He knows what He is talking about. Saint Martha once got herself busy with cell phones, online orders, and her charitable work while St. Mary sat at the feet of the Lord. St. Martha, being a true friend of the Lord, could ask him anything she wanted so she did:

St. Rafka (Rebecca)

Saint Rebecca (Rafka in Arabic)

"Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me."

Do you see how she asked this? Can you ask with this same holy boldness? Don't discount Saint Martha because of the Lord's response; she is in a league with the greatest Saints. Anyway, what did Jesus answer?

"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."

You can find all this in Luke 10:40 and following.

Ok. I'm convinced but I do not know how to pray. Got a suggestion?

What did Jesus say, or rather what did he not say? He did not say the first thing or the best thing or the better thing or the greatest thing. He said "only one thing is needed." Then He added: "Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken away from her."

Now, what did St. Mary Magdalene do? By all accounts... nothing. I mean she sat there doing nothing. She did not cook, she did not serve, she did not check her stock options or her 401k, and she did not answer the phone.  She did not give her opinion on sports or politics, and she did not criticize the weather, her priest or her bishop; she sat enrapt in contemplation. That's it.  I always find it funny when men say that women talk too much.

Now don't you go thinking 'Ha! That ought to teach Martha a lesson!' First of all, it is Saint Martha for you; once you are a canonized saint in heaven, go tell her what to do.  I wish I had an ounce of her faith. Praise Saint Martha but keep your eyes on St. Mary. Why? Because by sitting in contemplation of God, St. Mary did to all those present a far greater act of charity than St. Martha for she showed them how to adore God, and no greater gift can we give our brothers and sisters than to show them how to adore God in truth.

Personal prayer is absolutely essential if you truly wish to understand Scripture. You do not need it if you want an academic understanding of Scripture, but you cannot do without it if you want to see in Scripture the Face of Christ.

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