Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 1, 2004
'So I asked for the gift of prayer'
Bedard blessed when he sought to balance his busy work life with prayer
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
A disciple of Jesus has an all out commitment of his whole live for him, says Father Bob Bedard. It requires an encounter with the risen Lord.
The keynote speaker at the Catholic Renewal Services conference Feb. 20-21 on discipleship, Bedard told an enthusiastic gathering of about 225 people that to follow Jesus is to be given eternal life.
"I once asked for the gifts that were favoured in the First Corinthians," said Bedard, founder of the burgeoning religious order, the Companions of the Cross.
"There was one thing I needed because I had not been praying at all for many years. I was 20 years a priest and working so hard with other priests around me, trying to get a high school off the ground into respectability. We worked like dogs. We went to school in the summer and we worked during the holidays.
"We were doing work for the Lord. We didn't have time to pray. Who has time to pray? This is our prayer," he said.
Bedard learned later that work is not prayer.
Prayer is prayer
Only prayer is prayer.
Others prayed; they worked. That was the way it was.
"I didn't feel right with about it at all. So I asked for the gift of prayer," he said. "I didn't know if there was such a gift. I didn't read about it and I'm not sure if I've even read about it in the Bible since then.
"But I asked for the gift of prayer."
The next morning, Bedard awoke with an incredible urge to pray. He discovered within himself a desire to pray like he had never experienced before.
He bounded out of bed and sat in his sitting room and picked up a copy of the New Testament. He had it but he admitted that he hadn't read it much.
"I began to read and I prayed for 90 minutes without stopping. It was amazing," he said. "It was the work of the Holy Spirit. It was the work of God on the human soul."
It's interesting how the Lord shows you things.
In order for there to be a celebration, there has to be some obedience to the Church which is telling us to make some noise. There is a time to be joyful and explosive, Bedard said, and there is a time to be quiet and reverent.
"That's how it developed for me at home. I just let the Lord do what he wanted with me."
Jesus called people to believe in him and to be disciples of him. Follow me, he said. Just before Jesus finally ascended into heaven, he said to the apostles to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
It was the final commission to the Church.
"So we, who are the Church, this is what we need to be doing," Bedard said.
"But in order to make disciples, we need to be disciples first. We need to be certain what that means. Disciple means to be a follower, but when you read the words of Jesus, you know he meant something considerably more than that. In the end, he was urging people to follow him to a lifetime commitment.
"That's our call. We want to be disciples of Jesus."
It's pretty good to pray often and go to church often and lead a good life. But it isn't what God wants for us. He wants us to be disciples.
In the days he lived, Jesus was one of a number of men who was a teacher. They called him rabbi and that meant teacher. But teachers then didn't teach in schools, and they all taught individually. They walked around. And their disciples, in the ordinary sense of the word, followed them around.
The disciples would admire the rabbi and they would be impressed by him and by what he said. And they would lead their lives as best they could. Those were disciples of the ordinary rabbis of the day.
"But this rabbi named Jesus was something quite different because he confronted the Jewish authorities and ruling religious class," Bedard continued.
"He gave them a hard time and that was different. He challenged them again and again and they repeatedly tried to trip him up, but they couldn't do it.
"Eventually, they got him. They got someone to accuse him of blasphemy and he was taken before the tribunal and was eventually put to death. That's what the Pharisees wanted. Why? Because Jesus had challenged their authority and they didn't like that."
The whole nailing to the Cross was a program engineered by Satan himself, Bedard said. That's who the people were obeying. That's who was running the whole show.
"Who do you think is behind same-sex marriages and abortions and anything anti-Catholic today? It's the master planner himself, not the Lord. The Prince of Darkness, as Jesus called him.
"I think we are living in a spiritual wasteland and leading the world in allowing whatever seems to fit a considerable public opinion," he said.
"Jesus was the divine Son of God who offered up his life in sacrifice for the sins of the world and that took away the block to eternal life.
"From that point on, the gates of heaven were open and those who wanted to follow Jesus up, his disciples, he would lead into the Promised Land."
Letter to the Editor - 03/08/04