Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

10/16/2016 (1 week ago)

Catholic Online (

Never stop knocking,seeking, asking and loving God

We are all called to persevering prayer, no matter what our state in life or vocation. Preparing ourselves for such prayer means learning to silence the clamor of the age, stop the ever accelerating pace of the futile quests that so often occupy our hearts, and live in the eternal now by surrendering ourselves - and even our best aspirations- to the One who created us -and now re-creates us- in His Son Jesus Christ. It is there, in the emptied place, in the stillness of the eternal now, where we prepare a room for the King of all hearts. And, in that encounter, we will find the longing of our heart fulfilled.

Old woman in persevering prayer

Old woman in persevering prayer


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

10/16/2016 (1 week ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: prayer, contemplative, contemplation, meditation, Prayer, praying, Lukes Gospel, spirituality, Deacon Keith Fournier

CHESAPEAKE,VA (Catholic Online) - In the Gospel of St Luke we read a parable through which Jesus taught his disciples to persevere in prayer. As His contemporary disciples, we need to hear this parable. We need to learn to persevere in prayer.

"Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.  He said, "There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being.  And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, 'Render a just decision for me against my adversary.'

"For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, 'While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.'"

The Lord said, "Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?  Will he be slow to answer them?  I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" (Luke 18:1-8)

Jesus connects persevering in prayer and living faith for good reason. Prayer is a direct consequence of such living faith, a sign that we truly believe that the Lord really hears our prayers and cares about us. Do we? We need to grow in our understanding of the ways of prayer, including this kind of persevering prayer of which the Lord speaks.

In an age of fast food, fast cars and fast internet, we seem to be running all the time. Yet, even with our digital calendars, we risk missing the most important meeting of all, our appointment with the Lord. We place our very selves at risk when we do so.

Yesterday's relationship with the Lord is not sufficient for today. Yesterday's prayer cannot keep us  in the presence of the Lord. We need to cultivate an ongoing relationship with the Lord if we hope to see clearly with the eyes of living faith. We need to regularly and continually talk to Him. When we have a need, we need to present that need to the One who is not only a just Judge, but a loving Father.

When I was a young man I had a wonderful Franciscan priest who taught me much about persevering prayer. Newly married, I thought I had the worries of the world flooding upon me.When I did not see quick answers to my prayer; I grew confused as to whether I should even continue asking. He told me, with such practical wisdom, "Pray until what you seek is given, or the Lord changes your mind about what you are asking".

Jesus persevered in prayer. In His Sacred humanity in that Garden called Gethsemane, we witness the greatest example of perseverance. We also witness the perfect fruit of surrendered love which embraces the Father's Will out of loving trust. In the Letter to the Hebrews we read that he offered up prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears. (Hebrews 5:7)

Sometimes we do not ask for the things which we really need. But God, the loving Father which he is, loves to hear from his sons and daughters. He welcomes all of our requests. However, He gives us what we truly need to flourish and find our way home. The best prayer transforms our desire into His desire. We move from our will to His Will.  As we learn to turn our human freedom toward His Loving Will, we find it fulfilled and perfected.
We are all called to persevering prayer, no matter what our state in life or vocation. Preparing ourselves for such prayer means learning to silence the clamor of the age, stop the ever accelerating pace of the futile quests that so often occupy our hearts, and live in the eternal now by surrendering ourselves - and even our best aspirations- to the One who created us -and now re-creates us- in His Son Jesus Christ.

It is there, in the emptied place, in the stillness of the eternal now, where we prepare a room for the King of all hearts. And, in that encounter, we will find the longing of our heart fulfilled.

On Sunday, October 9, 2011, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI presided over Second Vespers with the Carthusian monks at Serra San Bruno. From the Chapel of that Carthusian monastery he shared some  beautiful insights on silence and prayer. His words brought me back to the days surrounding his election to the Chair of Peter.

When Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger chose the name Benedict he sent a signal concerning the centrality of prayer. One of the young priests offering commentary during those historic days noted that then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger visited Subiaco before all the events in Rome began. He prayed and rededicated himself to the work of the Church for the future.

Interestingly, a short while later he was called to occupy the chair of Peter. He took the name Benedict. He spent his pontificate teaching us all about that centrality of prayer.

Saint Benedict was the father of Western Monasticism.  As a young man he fled a decadent and declining Rome to give his life entirely to God and went to Subiaco. The cave that became his dwelling is now a shrine called "Sacro Speco" (The Holy Cave). It is still a sanctuary for pilgrims. The Pope who took his name went to that same cave for prayer just before he was elected.

The Pope told the monks: "Dear brothers you have found the hidden treasure, the pearl of great value (cf. Mt 13:44-46); you have responded radically to Jesus' invitation: "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me" (Mt 19:21). Every monastery - male or female - is an oasis in which the deep well, from which to draw "living water" to quench our deepest thirst, is constantly being dug with prayer and meditation.

Technical progress, markedly in the area of transport and communications, has made human life more comfortable but also more keyed up, at times even frantic. Cities are almost always noisy, silence is rarely to be found in them because there is always a lingering background noise, in some areas even at night. Some people are no longer capable of remaining for long periods in silence and solitude."

That is not to say that technological advances have to be an impediment to the encounter with the Lord called prayer. Rather, that when we allow them to become our measuring stick for satisfaction in every area of our lives, we will look for quick prayer and quick "results", from what we believe are "our" efforts. Prayer is not about results or even our efforts, but about Love.

There is a growing fascination with books about prayer and the monastic life across the entire Christian community. There is also a resurgence of interest in the Rule of Benedict and the writings of the early fathers of the Church about prayer.

It all reflects the deep hunger in our hearts for God. We were made for communion with Him. Benedict XVI reminded us all of the way we can all find the intimacy of that communion in the midst of our daily lives and be changed in the encounter. That way proceeds through prayer.

Now, years later, Pope Emeritus Benedict lives as a Monk, praying for the whole Church. How very fitting. He still points us on that way. We are invited to build a virtual monastery in the midst of a world which has lost its soul. The Holy Spirit is calling for a generation of contemplatives in every state in life and vocation in Christ.

We tend to believe that the contemplative life is reserved for those who, by special vocation, can "leave" the world, such as contemplative monks and nuns. They are a true treasure and a prophetic sign of the life to come. However, all who are baptized into Christ are called to the same encounter with a different response.

Isaac of Ninevah was an early eighth century monk, Bishop and theologian. For centuries he was mostly revered in the Eastern Christian Church for his writings on prayer. In the last century the beauty of his insights on prayer are being embraced once again by both lungs, East and West, of the Church. He wrote these words in one of his many treatises on Prayer:

"When the Spirit dwells in a person, from the moment in which that person has become prayer, he never leaves him. For the Spirit himself never ceases to pray in him. Whether the person is asleep or awake, prayer never from then on departs from his soul. Whether he is eating or drinking or sleeping or whatever else he is doing, even in deepest sleep, the fragrance of prayer rises without effort in his heart. Prayer never again deserts him.

"At every moment of his life, even when it appears to stop, it is secretly at work in him continuously, one of the Fathers, the bearers of Christ, says that prayer is the silence of the pure. For their thoughts are divine motions. The movements of the heart and the intellect that have been purified are the voices full of sweetness with which such people never cease to sing in secret to the hidden God".

Let us learn to pray at all times - and not grow weary. Let us join the song with a pure heart.


Deacon Keith Fournier is the Editor in Chief of Catholic Online, founder and Chairman of the Common Good Foundation and Chief Counsel to the Common Good Legal Defense Fund. Ordained for twenty years, Deacon Fournier and his wife Laurine have been married for forty years. They have five grown children and seven grandchildren


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for SEPTEMBER 2016
Centrality of the Human Person: That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the center.
Evangelization: Mission to Evangelize: That by participating in the Sacraments and meditating on Scripture, Christians may become more aware of their mission to evangelize.


More Living Faith

'It's not like this!' - Pope Francis shares special message Watch

Image of Pope Francis.

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

Dialogue is a key element of mercy, Pope Francis said Saturday, explaining that when we interrupt others in order to push our own opinions without truly listening, we risk ruining relationships. Vatican City, Rome (Catholic Online) - Speaking to pilgrims in St. Peter's ... continue reading

St. John Paul II Feast Day Celebration Watch

Image of Saint John Paul II.


With St. John Paul II feast day just around the corner, Saturday, October 22, take a moment to brush up on his wonderful life and celebrate with a prayer. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Saint John Paul II was born May 19, 1920 and passed away April 2, 2005. He was ... continue reading

Reaching out to the new generation: John Paul II documentary unlike any other Watch

Image of A new documentary of Pope John Paul II will help

By Tonia Borsellino (CNA/EWTN News)

Thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square and around their television sets to pray for Pope John Paul II as he passed away on April 2, 2005. They remembered the more than 26 years he served as the Holy Father; the courage he had in fighting communism; his ... continue reading

Is it okay for Catholics to celebrate Halloween? An exorcist explains Watch

Image of Is it okay for a Catholic to celebrate Halloween?

By Mary Rezac (CNA/EWTN News)

For years, Cecilia Cunningham and her husband took their children trick-or-treating in their then-suburban Philadelphia neighborhood. Denver, CO (Catholic Online) - "It was the kind of neighborhood outside of Philadelphia where everybody knew each other, and it was a ... continue reading

The beautiful meeting of John Paul II and Mother Teresa Watch

Image of John Paul II met St. Mother Teresa.

By Mary Rezac (CNA/EWTN News)

It's been said that saints often come in pairs. Vatican City, Rome (CNA/EWTN News) - Sts. Peter and Paul, Mary and Joseph, Francis and Clare, and Louis and Zelie Martin are just a handful of such saints, coupled together through marriage or friendship.Perhaps the ... continue reading

The Catholic Liturgy is NOT on the decline, despite doctrine controversies Watch

Image of There is always hope for the Church's liturgical music.

By Adelaide Mena (CNA/EWTN News)

For decades, there's been concern in many corners of the Church that Catholic music is in crisis. LOS ANGELES, CA (CNA/EWTN News) - The 1992 book "Why Catholics Can't Sing" outlined a history of modern Catholic Liturgical music and a rapid shift away from traditional ... continue reading

Check out our children's shopping items! Watch

Image of Teach your kids about Christ.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online now has more children's options in its store! LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Take a look at some of the new products made especially for children!Whether you want to teach your kids about the Bible or the Rosary, Catholic Shopping has just the ... continue reading

Seven things to remember when you get frustrated with this election Watch

Image of We must not set aside our faith or become disheartened.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In all my life, I have not experienced an election cycle as bitter as this one. Soon, our nation will choose between two terribly flawed candidates for president. The decision we make at the polls will determine who gets the privileged responsibility to lad our nation ... continue reading

Our choices end where another's more fundamental right begins Watch

Image of Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

By Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

Though he has local roots in the Kansas City area, I have never met vice presidential candidate, Senator Tim Kaine. From those who do know him, I understand that he is a very affable and likable person. In the Oct. 4 vice presidential debate, Senator Kaine acknowledged ... continue reading

A message for the Church from one of its newest saints Watch

Image of St. Jose Sanchez del Rio teaches a lesson in martyrdom.

By (CNA)

When we find ourselves weary from the troubles of life, we can find inspiration in the heroism of one of the Church's new saints, said Cardinal Alberto Suarez Inda of Morelia, Mexico. Vatican City, Rome (CNA) - From its inception, "the history of the Church is the ... continue reading

All Living Faith News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
12 for the Lord is a judge who is utterly impartial.13 He ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 34:2-3, 17-18, 19, 23
2 I will praise Yahweh from my heart; let the humble hear and ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 18:9-14
9 He spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
6 As for me, my life is already being poured away as a libation, and the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 23rd, 2016 Image

St. John of Capistrano
October 23: St. John was born at Capistrano, Italy in 1385, ... Read More