In a tweet sent a little while ago, our Holy Father Pope Francis, wrote –
“When we pray, God expects that we also be mindful of those who do not think as we do, those who have slammed the door in our face, those whom we find it hard to forgive. Only prayer unlocks chains, only prayer paves the way to unity.”
He is right. Only prayer can achieve this because in praying, we open ourselves to the Lord and to the action of His divine grace and His mercy. Prayer is the connection to the divine, the conduit of that grace – prayer channels this grace into our hearts and souls, where it can take root if we will so allow it, and it then begins to transform us.
In life, there are many things which act us ‘chains’ upon us – and these chains can be both in the world around us but also within ourselves. So often, the worst enemy we have is none other than ourself; all those little character traits and personality quirks can get in the way of our spiritual progress, usually without us even realising that this is occurring. Perhaps that is why so many of the Saints spoke and wrote about battling and overcoming themselves.
And in trying to do the same as them, to fight our own personal battle, we might – in fact, we very likely will – fail often and repeatedly. But we should recognise in all humility that any such battle will last a lifetime; we don’t overcomes ourselves only once, but over and over again, day in and day out till the last breath leaves our body. And in knowing this, we should take heart.
Of course, in such an intense and unrelenting battle as the one described here, we can never achieve success on our own – but then, we are not on our own, for the Lord is always with us.
And that brings us right back to that prayer of which the Holy Father speaks – in that prayer, we open ourselves to the Lord, invite Him in and ask His grace and His mercy so that we can begin or continue the fight.