August 25, 2000
volume 11, no. 150


Sister Lucy's GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER column for August 25, 2000


        There is a short, but very powerful prayer, that I would like to recommend to you. It is not new. It was prayed in its basic form by people in the Old Testament. It is a cry to the very Heart of God that will not go unheard. One can say it hundreds of times a day without any interference with work, concentration or duties. It appears in practically all Christian liturgies throughout the world sometimes three times, sometimes nine times and in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, forty times. There are different forms of it. It can range anywhere from one word to twelve words.

        Before Jesus was born, people in the Old Testament would simply call out to God: YAHWEH, HAVE MERCY ON ME! Whether from the fiery furnace, from the Israelite slaves in Egypt, from those wandering in the desert, this cry came from human hearts and flew directly to the Heart of God. It is a cry of humility, a cry that acknowledges our dependence on God’s loving kindness, a cry of a child for the aid of his loving Father, a simple cry for salvation.

        In the New Testament, the first word is always an invocation to God, the Son. This is not to negate the Presence of or desire for God the Father, for Jesus said: “No one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:9).

        Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, outside the walls of Jericho, cried out: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" (Mark 10:47). The Canaanite woman in the district of Tyre and Sidon cried: “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Matthew 15:22). The ten lepers, who met Jesus on the way between Samaria and Galilee called out: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” (Luke 17:13).

        These are the basic forms of what we call today, the JESUS PRAYER! It can even be simply the calling of the name: “Jesus!” when our hearts are filled with a desire for His Mercy, which each of needs without exception.

        I would like to recommend to you this form: “LORD, JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, HAVE MERCY ON ME, A SINNER!”

        Such a short prayer, but such a powerful one! It cannot go unheeded by God, when prayed sincerely. This prayer will open Heaven and bring God’s Mercy and salvation to those who pray it. It touches the Heart of God immediately.

        Pray it for yourselves! Pray it for others! Pray it every day! Pray itmany times during the day! Let it be on your lips as soon as you wake in the morning or retire for the evening! Pray it as you dress, as you get your breakfast, as you travel to work, as you eat your lunch, as you mow the lawn, as you wash the dishes. Pray it anywhere and often. Our salvation and that of others may depend on that simple prayer.

        Let’s not take our lives on earth for granted. We do not know the day or hour of our passing into eternity.

        God bless you!

    Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

August 25, 2000
volume 11, no. 150

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