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Why prayer isn’t a lucky charm


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Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 08/18/22

Even when we accept the invitation, attending His banquet, sitting at His table, and having a relationship with Him is not like wearing a lucky charm.

Today’s readings can be found here.

Two things are absolutely wrong: believing that God imposes himself on our lives, and believing that however things go it will be a success. Today’s Gospel offers a proper understanding of this.

We spend our lives looking for incontrovertible signs of God’s existence and do not take seriously the constant latent proposals He makes to us in our daily lives. If God showed Himself through His Omnipotence we would no longer have any choice. That is why He sends “servants” to invite, to provoke, to stimulate, and to involve each of us, so that going to Him is our choice and not the only possible choice.

Yet, it seems that we always have a good excuse ready to abandon this meeting : “I have things to do; I have children; I would like some time to myself; I have a lot of problems; the Church has let me down; priests are all wretches…” In short, we have a collection of thousands of possible excuses—always taken for granted and always up to date—we love to arm ourselves with in order not to accept a decisive encounter with God, and consequently with the meaning of our lives. 

However, even when we accept the invitation, attending His banquet, sitting at His table, and having a relationship with Him is not like wearing a lucky charm. The selfish arrogance with which we often believe becomes the cause of our downfall. We think that however things go it will be a success for us, that it is enough to enter “the Master’s house” for us to be able to say that He will fix everything, while we continue to be always the same: always the same in our choices and our quality of life. Yet, the wedding garment is not about being “talented, good, and beautiful,” but having decided to change our life, just as we discard old and dirty clothes and decide to put on beautiful and clean ones.

We cannot say we believe and not change anything about our life. Believing demands choices, radical changes, the divestment of what is old and dirty to make room for a new decision. Without this change of clothes, not even daily attendance at the sacraments can save us; indeed, we will be asked to account for them as well.


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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