Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
In this penultimate catechesis on prayer we are going to speak about perseverance in praying. It is an invitation, indeed a command that comes to us from Sacred Scripture. The spiritual journey of the Russian pilgrim begins when he comes across a phrase of Saint Paul in the First Letter to the Thessalonians: “Pray constantly, always and for everything give thanks” (5:17-18). The Apostle’s words struck the man and he wondered how it was possible to pray without interruption, given that our lives are fragmented into so many different moments, which do not always make concentration possible. From this question he begins his search, which will lead him to discover what is called the prayer of the heart. It consists in repeating with faith: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!”. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!” A simple prayer, but very beautiful. A prayer that, little by little, adapts itself to the rhythm of breath and extends throughout the day. What was it? “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!”. I can’t hear you. Louder! “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!”. And repeat it, repeat it, eh! This is important. Indeed, the breath never stops, not even while we sleep; and prayer is the breath of life.
How, then, it is possible always to preserve a state of prayer? The Catechism offer beautiful quotations from the history of spirituality, which insist on the need for continuous prayer, that it may be the fulcrum of Christian existence. I will look at some of them.