Jesus makes no apologies when he seeks out the tax collectiors and sinners for company, after all, they are the ones who most urgently need to hear the Gospel. The irony of the matter is that they seem to be more willing to accept the Gospel message than those who would theoretically be more prepared and more open to it! It is the sinners of the world who are entering into heaven more quickly and more abundantly than those who on the face of it are more religious. This encourages us to look at the issue of religiosity and ask how we should address such a problem when it arises.

Religiosity is not true faith; it is more a legalistic following of a set of rules or norms such that it looks as though one is a very religious preson. The truth of the matter is that this is rarely the case – sometime the most outwardly religious among us are living terribly messed up and double lives. This is what we must seek to avoid as we grow in our faith and the safest means to guard against religiosity is true humility and a faithful and simple prayer life.

I find it totally anomolous when a priest tells me he does not have any time to pray, or that his work is his prayer. This is a copout! It is not based in a true understanding of the life of faith. True faith will always find time for prayer and the busier one is the more time it will find for prayer! A person’s commitment to formal prayer is sometimes the best measure of the good faith of the person. If formal prayer times are non-negotiable aspects of a person’s life I will find it very easy to trust that person with large responsibilities because I know they have learnt one of the most fundamental truths of faith – it is no longer we who are our own strength, but Christ who dwells in us!

Prayer is essential in tapping the strength and grace God pours into our lives to make us his disciples. We need to ensure that we give ourselves, and God, the freedom and opportunity to avail of his grace by setting aside times that are for him alone.

Do I have prayer as a non-negotiable aspect of every day of my life? If not, it is time to make that commitment!

Jesus, help me to seek you in prayer every day of my life. Do not let a day pass without awakening within me a deep desire for communion with you.