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Thursday, February 21, 2002

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Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25
Psalm 138
Matthew 7:7-12

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greatness in prayer

"Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, likewise had recourse to the Lord." —Esther C:12

Pope John Paul II began His ministry as Pope by calling for "great, intense, and growing prayer" (The Redeemer of Man, 22). Sixteen years later, Pope John Paul II proclaimed that "a great prayer for life is urgently needed" (The Gospel of Life, 100). The Pope continued to call us to great prayer.

"Great" prayer is to pray as Esther prayed, risking her life and praying for her people to be spared genocide (Est C:12ff). "Great" prayer is a matter of life or death, salvation or damnation.

"Great" prayer is to pray as Mary did. It is prayer for three hours at the foot of the cross (Jn 19:25) and for nine days in the upper room before Pentecost (Acts 1:14).

"Great" prayer is to pray as Jesus did for one hour in the agony in the garden, three hours on the cross, and forever at the right hand of the Father (see Heb 7:25).

"Great" prayer is to pray the Mass and other sacraments led by Jesus, the Great High Priest. "Great" prayer is to make your house a house of prayer (Is 56:7) by praying daily with your spouse and family. "Great" prayer is also to pray at work and on the streets, to pray boldly and publicly and not be ashamed of the gospel (Rm 1:16). Pray "great."

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit to lead me to greatness in prayer.

Promise:  "Ask, and you will receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you." —Mt 7:7

Praise:  St. Peter Damian's great prayer was that he would keep the heart of a monk, a heart of prayer, as he performed his episcopal duties.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 18, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2001