“Christ the Lord is our very breath when we openly proclaim with our mouths what we believe with our hearts.”
That beautiful thought of St. Anthony of Padua reminds me very much of the Jesus Prayer, a one-sentence “breath” prayer which can be said while inhaling: “Lord Jesus Christ”, and exhaling: “have mercy on me, a sinner”. In a small but powerful book by Sr. Mary David Totah, OSB , Deepening Prayer, she writes: “Devotionally too, the Jesus prayer embraces the two key moments that should characterize all Christian prayer – the moment of adoration, of looking to God’s glory and reaching out to him in love; and the moment of repentance, the consciousness of unworthiness and sin. In the first half of the prayer we rise up to God: ‘Lord Jesus Christ’. In the second half we return to ourselves in compunction: ‘Have mercy on me, a sinner’. Mercy bridges the gulf between God and fallen man.”
How true – and what a perfect complement to St. Anthony’s quotation! That tiny prayer, which can be quietly prayed anytime, anywhere, is the crux of our faith. It holds a deep truth and can unlock in us the awareness of our relationship to God: that of creature to Creator. Praying the Jesus Prayer is another simple way to make God a part of our every day, and indeed, a part of our every breath. The word “inspire” also means to inhale! With this prayer we inhale and exhale the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. That, in turn, will lead us to openly proclaim with our lives what we believe with our hearts. Thank you, St. Anthony...
St. Anthony, pray for us!