As they were coming down from the mountain, the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” ~ Mt 17:9a-10
It is right and just that we should set aside dedicated time every day to pray, but we don’t have to stop there. Weaving an ethic of awareness of God’s presence into the fabric of everyday allows us to have a running conversation with our Lord. The 17th-century Carmelite monk Brother Lawrence endeavored throughout his life to practice the presence of God, writing: “We ought to act with God in the greatest simplicity, speaking to Him frankly and plainly, and imploring His assistance in our affairs, just as they happen.”
Whether we encounter a difficult problem at work or experience a joyful moment within our family, we can quietly pray, in the moment, “God, can you help me solve this?” or “God, thank you for my teenager’s good humor.” Prayer is, after all, simply a conversation with God, and it can occur at any point in the day. The disciples in today’s Gospel pose their questions to Christ while coming down from the mountain of the transfiguration—a glorious and confounding event. We can imagine them walking down the slope, picking their way through the dust and scrabble of the path, still shaken from this transformational event in which their leader stood with Moses and Elijah and was sanctified by God.
Despite the grandeur of that divine revelation, Christ remained accessible to his disciples on their journey. So, too, will he be available to us in the peaks and valleys of our lives, sharing our joys and sorrows at all times. For as the martyred El Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero wrote, He is “the God who converses with us.”
O Lord, who lifts up his people in friendship, May I practice awareness of your presence at all times, and speak to you early and often each day. Amen.