April 7-9, 2000
volume 11, no. 70

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    "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" is what Sister Mary Lucy Astuto pinpoints in every issue when she takes a common sense approach to living our faith with her practical columns.

    This weekend, Sister brings into focus how God perceives us when we pray if it is half-hearted: It comes across cold - the same way we perceive people who are shallow and insincere towards us. In applying the golden rule, Sister shows how we should pray and reminds us this is what Our Lady continues to hammer home at Medjugorje and elsewhere when she says "Pray with and from the heart." She also reasserts the importance of making a good confession individually with a priest for proper absolution and not the "community confessions" that some parishes sponsor especially during Lent, which do not fulfill the full characteristics of the Sacrament of Reconciliation as she reminds in her column this weekend, Pray with your heart...with your whole heart! .

    Her column provides effective, vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can visit Sr. Lucy at her web site for Heart of Mary Ministry at or you can reach her at Srmarylucy by e-mail.

        Have people ever given you lip service? You know, they are talking to you, but they are very distracted (and want to be) while they are talking! They are not concentrating on you or on what they aresaying. Their attention is deliberately divided.

        It's an insult to have someone address us this way. It says in effect that we are not important to the one speaking to us - that something or someone else (that's the real object of attention) is more important at that moment than we are.

        One might as well not try to talk with that person, as they are not really paying attention to what we are saying. It is half-hearted talk on their part; it is easily recognized, and it is a put-down to us.

        God does not like lip service either. When we pray, that is, when we speak to Him, He wants our words to come from our hearts. He wants us to mean what we say and be humble and sincere. He does not want us to be DELIBERATELY distracted and half-hearted in what we say to Him. Such prayer would be an insult to God. Those prayers would be "dead," as though they came from a grave.

        God said: "If you are neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you from My mouth" in Revelation/Apocalypse 3: 16. Lukewarmness is detestable to God. Lip service is part of being lukewarm.

        Our Lady of Medjugorje is always saying: "Pray with your heart!" In other words, pray with meaning. Concentrate and be humble and sincere.

        Distractions occur to all of us. I don't think most people can pray an Our Father without a distraction. Being distracted against our will is not displeasing to God. If, however, we want to be distracted; if we choose to think about something else when our lips are saying "prayers," then God is not pleased with our prayers. This can even be sinful for we are making something else "god;" something else is more important to us at that moment than God Himself. So when the distractions come, gently pull your mind and heart back to attending to what you are saying to God.

        That struggle, like an infant who struggles to crawl to his father, increases our love for God and shows God that we choose Him and not the distraction.

        God is not far from us. He is close to us. He is near us all the time. He wants us to be intimate with Him while remembering that He is God. He wants us to take Him "with us" wherever we go and to seek His advice in everything. If we form the habit of talking with God about everything we do during the day, we shall be living a true life in God. If we talk to Him as we would our best friend, if we speak to Him from our hearts, sincerely and humbly, He will be so pleased with us. We will become His delight.

        Don't forget, dear reader, to make a good confession before Easter. Go to confession individually not accepting a communal absolution, which has become an abuse in the Church.

        God bless you!

    Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

April 7-9, 2000
volume 11, no. 70

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