March 10, 2009

The Splendor of Prayer

By Stella Montes

There is one topic that never fails to excite and interest me... it is the subject of PRAYER! What a marvel, what a treasure, what a gift! Prayer is so precious yet so lacking in expense... except for the offering that comes from the heart.

Prayer is the living breath of the soul... without it, the soul ceases to be inflamed and dies! There is no prayer without the love of God and there is no love of God without prayer. It is as simple as this... When we love God, we pray. We come to Him; we talk to Him; we praise and adore Him; we tell Him our innermost longings and desires; we listen to Him; we never tire of being with Him. We know that He is a Father who waits for us, who longs for us, who desires to hear our voice. Prayer is the most natural recourse of a soul that loves God!

What if you never hear from your son or daughter? What if there are no phone calls, no cards, no letters, no emails or texts, no hi's or hello's... no word from him or her during birthdays or special occasions? What if you only hear from this son or daughter when he or she is in need? The relationship becomes one of need rather than love. We still love but how we long to be loved and included in the lives of our children as well! There is great expectancy, joy, delight in a parent's love... in our Father's love! We love Him back through prayer and following His commands. Because we love God, we follow... we obey... we surrender... we pray.

For us Catholics, the Holy Mass is the core of our prayer life, the center of our faith, our highest form of worship. In the Mass, Jesus' ministry, passion, death, resurrection and ascension are not only recalled but actualized! We have our Lord in our midst through the Word, the Eucharist, the community, the priest. The Holy Spirit moves and dwells among us! We are united as one body of Christ, in communion with the angels and saints in heaven. What a glorious testimony and witness to His love and presence! Grace is so wonderfully and so freely given and shared!

A Gallup poll revealed the average American spends 6-7 hours per day in television time. We have time for the news, movies, sports, leisure, social gatherings, etc. but barely have time to pray. We leave God for the left-overs of our day. We pray "when we have time" yet have time for everything else.

God has given us His very best... the sun, the moon, the stars, the heavens, our home, our loved ones, our very lives... He did not even spare His Son for us... to make us live... to enable us to share in His glory.

He deserves our very best.

God bless.


"Your love must be sincere. Detest what is evil, cling to what is good. Love one another with the affection of brothers. Anticipate each other in showing respect. Do not grow slack but be fervent in spirit; him who you serve is the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient under trial, persevere in prayer." Romans 12:9-12

A Sacred Life

By Stella Montes

The "most difficult" patients I encounter in my work as a Psychiatrist are not the schizophrenics, the depressed or bipolar patients or the severely anxious and agitated ones nor are they the paranoid, the violent or the self-destructive patients BUT the terminally ill.

What do you say to someone who is terminally ill? What words can possibly comfort, alleviate, put at ease the mind of someone who is dying? There are NO WORDS, brothers and sisters... no words in my psychiatric training would suffice to uplift the emotions; no drug could erase the reality of death.

So I prepare my patients for death. I allow them to share their fears, their frustrations, their disappointments, their pain, their dreams unrealized, dreams yet to be realized! I talk to them about God and His plan for all of us... that we are meant for Him and not for this life.

Ours is a journey towards Him. I am where they are in this journey, through this process. I consider it my most treasured vocation to minister to the sick and the dying. What a gift to be able to be with a dying person to the very end! What a blessing it is to minister, to guide, to give, to share, to comfort, to listen, to love... till the very end!

To die alone bereft of family and friends is the saddest of all! I once heard a story about a hospice nurse who took care of an elderly woman in her 80's who had no family. That night, the nurse knew it was going to be her last. She stayed late to be with her. She asked if there was anything she could do for her as this night will be her last. The elderly woman asked for a cigarette. It was all she wanted at the moment of her death. She died the next morning. The nurse couldn't contain her tears and her grief! This was a life reduced to one last cigarette!

I challenge my dying patients to make a choice. To die in fear, despair, hopelessness, despondency, bitterness, anger, resentment OR to die in peace, faith, hope, courage, full of love, prepared to leave loved ones and ready to meet our Maker!

I ask them to do everything in their power to "fight the good fight", "to run a good race"... to battle with the illness, to get the best doctors, to choose the best treatments available, to ready one's defenses... to eat well, rest, meditate, surround oneself with uplifting and positive people, to pray, to seek God. I ask them to assist loved ones who will be left behind, to prepare for death, to ready the soul. I inspire them to have hope and joy in their hearts as they prepare and anticipate to meet the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!

With acceptance and surrender, there is peace and joy... yes, even joy in the face of death!

"The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want ... Even when I walk through the valley of darkness, I will fear no evil for you are with me... your rod and staff will protect me..." He promises to be with us till the very end.

I pray for a peaceful and glorious death for myself, my loved ones, for all of us, for others. We pray for the same grace for all our loved ones. We pray for the poor souls in Purgatory who can pray for us but cannot pray for themselves. We pray, most especially, for those who are about to die lacking in the state of grace. We pray for God's loving mercy for unprepared souls.

To die in God's grace is TRULY the greatest blessing of all!

God's peace be upon you.


"You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before men,that they may see your good works and give glory to yourheavenly Father."

"For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."