SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME — Year C

*Alternate* Second Reading: From Joan Chittister’s The Breath of the Soul

Many of the prayers we say have been passed down to us for generations. The
psalms, for instance, mark the cry of the human spirit across time. The Scriptures
speak of peoples and prayers over twenty centuries before us. Prayers such as
these in every culture carry the wisdom of the past to enlighten the insights of the
present.

These prayers are venerable, a history of the unchanging human spirit. But they
do not guarantee that those who say them will ever be “prayerful” people. They
tell us only that people pray.

Prayerfulness, on the other hand, is the capacity to walk in touch with God
through everything in life. It is the internal awareness that God is with me —
now, here, in this, always. It is an awareness of the continuing presence of God.
It is my dialogue with the living God who inhabits my world in spirit and in mind.

Prayerfulness sees God everywhere.

Prayerfulness talks to God everywhere.

Prayerfulness submits the uncertainties of the moment to the scrutiny of the
internal eyes of God. It trusts that no matter how malevolent the situation may
be, I can walk through it unharmed because God is with me.

Prayerfulness is both gift and grace, both a natural disposition and a quality of
soul to be developed. But develop it!

Prayerfulness is fostered by the simple consciousness that God is. That God is
near us at all times. That God is closer to us than the breath we breathe. That
God is available, a silence in the midst of chaos, a voice in the midst of confusion,
a promise at the center of the tumult.

If I ask and I listen and I reach out and I fill my heart with the words of the One
who is the Word, then I will be answered. Somehow the path will become clear.

The words of Joan Chittister.