Sister, you don’t know how to pray!
Prayer and the Holy Spirit
A Reflection by Sr. Natalie Sayde Salameh, MSCL
As many would now be aware, we, the Maronite Servants, have a new Postulant joining us next month, on September 19. Praise God! The young lady’s name is Emily Lattouf, from St. Theresa’s Church in Brockton, MA. Emily’s family came to visit the sisters here at our Convent in Dartmouth recently.
Emily has a four old little sister, whose name is Angelina. She is quite the character! During the course of our conversation, I discovered that little Angie prays a decade of the Chaplet of the Sacred Heart every day. I was intrigued, and I asked her to teach me how to pray the Chaplet. I took out my Rosary so that she could tell me what prayers are said on which beads. Well, we fumbled our way through, and Angie was giving me a lot of repetition, so I finally said, “Ok, so after the Our Father and the Hail Mary, what comes next?” She replied, “You do not know how to pray!” Well, I laughed so hard and so did everybody else. I responded to Angie by saying, “You are absolutely right, I do not know how to pray”. Kids say the darndest (and yet most truthful) things, right?
Angie’s response had reminded me of what St. Paul said in his letter to the Romans, Chapter 8, verse 26:
In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
Angie’s response had reminded me that it’s not me who prays, but the Holy Spirit who prays in me. Her response prompted me afresh to implore the Holy Spirit to “teach me to pray, to pray in me”.
In a couple of short weeks in the Maronite Church, the Season of Pentecost, often known as the Season of the Holy Spirit, will come to an end. In fact, the Season of Pentecost ends with the beginning of the next (and final) Liturgical Season of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14.
The Season of Pentecost is the longest season in the Maronite Church, sometimes lasting as long as three to four months, depending on where Easter falls in the year. After about the 4thor 5thSunday of Pentecost, the repetition of the same Liturgies and prayers can become somewhat tedious and monotonous.
Angie reminded me through her candor and simplicity, that only a pure child possesses, that we are still in this powerful Season of the Holy Spirit. Let’s finish this Season strong. Let us implore the Holy Spirit to come and help us, and teach us weak human beings how to praise God, and how to love God as He desires to be loved. Only the presence of the Holy Spirit in us can do that!