Finding Joy in Prayer

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

"Stream of consciousness" is not everyone's cup of tea. This literary technique lacks a certain coherence because it simply records one idea after another, much as our human brain or mind works. I have often thought of the "high priestly prayer" as employing this technique although most literary critics would agree that it is a child of the 20th Century and the rise of psychology as a science.

St. John attempts to describe the action of the Holy Spirit through Jesus' prayer. Much of our theology about the Holy Spirit finds its origin in this Gospel. Trying to capture the nature of the Spirit in a few chapters or passages is as impossible as trying to capture the breezes that flow through our windows at night.

Today's Gospel reading doesn't specifically mention the Holy Spirit. However, because it speaks of prayer, intercessory prayer in particular, we know that it involves the Holy Spirit. St. John has written that the Holy Spirit knows what we need even better than we do ourselves. Consequently, the Holy Spirit is at work when we ask the Father in Jesus' name. No matter what the request, the answer we receive brings us joy which makes our lives complete. We will realize that joy when we embrace the gift of the Holy Spirit which allows us to live our lives in accordance with God's will.

As I read over my words this morning, I have to smile as I recognize that like the verses from John's Gospel today, my own thoughts seem to betray my own stream of consciousness. Perhaps this is the product of prayerful reading of the Gospel as we become one with the thought processes of Jesus.

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