I recently read a beautiful sermon given by Oscar Romaro on Pentecost Sunday in 1977. In it, he suggested that the “most beautiful dimension” of the human vocation is the ability to speak with God. Without prayer, he suggested, Christians cannot understand the depth of the meaning of the proclamation that “Jesus is Lord” and, correspondingly, the true meaning of being a human person. He explained
To pray is to understand the mystery that I am, man/woman, and I have limitations. These limitations being forth the divine essence with whom I am able to dialogue. If I had in my power the ability to make a friend to my liking – a friend to whom I could transmit all my thoughts, my freedom, all that I am in order to be able to establish a dialogue with this friend, then from my hands would spring forth a creature who at the same time I would make my partner in conversation. But this is impossible; among human persons this is simply impossible. But God, who created heaven and earth, has the ability to create a partner in conversation, to create a being whom he has constituted the ruler of creation, one who interprets the beauty of the sun and the stars, who interprets the joy of life, who feels the anxiety of his/her smallness and speaks with the One who is able to give comfort, with the Author of all things. This is prayer. This is the ability of the human person to understand that he/she has been made by someone powerful, but he/she has been elevated to be this One’s partner in conversation, elevated to speak with him.
In prayer we recognize something very important about ourselves and about God. We are not God; we exist in dependence on God. But, God gives us a dignity, giving worth and meaning to our humanness, inviting us to enter into dialogue with Him – in our prayer and in our work in the world. We are small, but in Romero’s words, “our smallness will become great and powerful if we are humble, loving and trusting in the name of the Lord.”