January 19, 2024

Guest Column / Richard Etienne

Father, Son, Holy Spirit: Is now a time to change your prayer routine?

Richard EtienneWhich person of the Trinity do you most frequently gravitate toward when you are praying or communicating with God?

The Father is often an early favorite when children are first learning to pray.

The image of an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving parent above that is always (with help from guardian angels) watching over and protecting everyone is often an especially helpful concept for young people.

Then the image of the Son becomes a comfortable companion in praying, for example, with “lectio divina” (“divine reading”) as we mature. In this prayer form, one can easily journey with Jesus when contemplating a specific narrative from Gospel passages.

A person can imagine being in the presence of Jesus in specific situations in many of the Gospel narratives (the woman at the well, the wedding at Cana, the Last Supper, Jesus calming the storm, and many other Scripture references).

I know that he has become a strong companion for me through my lifetime of prayer.

How often do you call on the person and specific blessings offered by the Holy Spirit?

In St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, we read that “the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal 5:22). Who wouldn’t benefit from more of any of these in their life?

In the Gospel of Luke, at the end of a passage about prayer, we hear Jesus say, “How much more will the Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Lk 11:13).

That passage is especially worth pondering as we reflect on the Synod on Synodality held at the Vatican last October. It is worth noting that, in the continuing synodal process this year, the entire focus will continue to be on listening to the Holy Spirit. Our faith teaches that every baptized person has access to third member of the Trinity.

Which person of the Trinity has become your focal point when you pray? Ask yourself: Would there be something to gain in attempting to call on a different person of the Trinity?

Is now a good time to change your routine?

(Richard Etienne has a degree in theology from Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad and resides in Newburgh, Ind.)

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