Moses vs Amalekites.jpgIt would be a pity to forget last Sunday’s first
reading where we read of Moses’ role as mediator of God’s saving plan.

In the
book of Exodus we were reminded that Moses had concern for the salvation of his
unbelieving countrymen, and therefore he asked that God show His compassion
towards sinful Israel (see Exodus 32-34). The raising of Moses’ hands in
prayer, while dramatic, is not a biblical example of a magical Wizard of Oz. It is, however, a posture that invites all of us to pray using our God-given body and as a group as it is more effective in
expanding our own heart for God’s grace and power.

The teaching of the Church
as it is given to us in the Catechism of the Catholic Church cites Saint John
Damascene’s definition of prayer as “…the raising of one’s mind and heart to
God or the requesting of good things from God.” The Catechism speaks of
biblical types of prayer, such as ‘the prayer of Moses [that] responds to the
living God’s initiative for the salvation of His people. It foreshadows the
prayer of intercession of the unique mediator, Christ Jesus’ (2593).

St Dominic in prayer.jpg

Do we
raise our hands in prayer? What posture of prayer do we use? Do we use our body in praying? Are you too stiff and scared in your manner of praying? 

Recall that one of
the “Nine Ways of Prayer” given to us by Saint Dominic de Guzman is the raising
of hands in prayer. The 6th and 7th Ways of Prayer are directly connected with the living of the Beatitudes and the spirituality of the Cross. Outstretched hands in the form of a cross became a familiar way of praying for Saint Dominic (and his followers) that he believed was inspired by God not only at Mass but also when he was praying for someone’s healing or being being raised from the dead.

Catholics of the Latin Church are often too reserved, perhaps even too rigid, in their posture of prayer versus what is seen in Eastern Christianity where the extension of hands in prayer is one of many postures used in the sacred Liturgy and in private. This particularly seen in praying the Lord’s Prayer and other prayers of penitence and before the reception of Holy Communion.

So, can we follow the example of Moses and Saint Dominic in speaking and listening to God?