Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pray Don't Worry - St. John Vianney

"God commands you to pray, but He forbids you to worry."
Saint John Mary Vianney, Priest

Today we remember St Jean-Baptiste Vianney, Curé of Ars (1786 - 1859).  The above is a quote that appeared in Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers that I purchased from the Spirit Daily bookstore.

St. Padre Pio has a similar quote:

“Pray, hope, and don’t worry! Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer. Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God’s heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips but with your heart. In fact, on certain occasions, you should speak to Him only with your heart.”

Where did these two saints get this wisdom?

I would suggest they found it in Scripture.

Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.

1 Peter 5:7

Still, isn't St. John Vianney's quote a bit strong of an interpretation of Phillipians 4:6?

I don't think so.  If we are worrying, are we trusting God?  Are we seeking first the Kingdom of God above all else if we are worried?

Jesus Christ our Savior wants us not to be anxious, or to worry, but to place our needs before our Father.

He tells us:
Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
Matthew 6:33

When we pray, we turn our hearts and minds to God.  In place of worry we put trust.  Jesus wants our trust.  God the Father wants our trust.  God is pleased at the faith we show when we follow the teachings of scripture and these two great saints to pray, to hope, and not to worry!

What happens when we worry, or are anxious, or take our anxieties someplace other than to him who cares about us?

Here's what I notice when I am anxious and worried and I don't turn first to God in prayer.

First, my focus is put somewhere other than God, his Kingdom, seeking first his righteousness, including being receptive to know, to accept God's will for me in the moment.

Second, my opportunity to find peace, and experience God's love and mercy is postponed until I do turn to him in prayer, in trust, in hope.

What is the benefit in delaying God's peace, love, and mercy?
For me, having experienced God's peace, love and mercy, i would say there is no benefit, only a waste of time.

Who benefits from this waste of time?  Not me.  And I would say it grieves and saddens God who gives so much to me in the Word, in the Eucharist, in the Church, in the Communion of Saints, in the Holy Spirit that came into my soul at Baptism.

There is another, the spirit of this world, the same spirit that was kicked out of heaven by St. Michael the Archangel, that is served by my worry and delay at turning to God in prayer.  Satan's agenda is to undermine and distract the saints from their one and only source of all good gifts:  Our God, glorious in the Holy Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

This is a reminder to me as well as to you the kind person reading this:
If you are worried or anxious, expect the temptation to turn inward, or turn to a Google search, or to an email, or a drink, or to the retail store.  Instead, act in faith, love, trust, and obedience to your Lord, and instead Pray!


  1. I agree with the quote. Worry just takes away from God the problem you just gave to Him! I once was told, "Let Me have it!" when I did that. I don't worry anymore!!!

  2. I like that, "Let me have it!" comment, Elizabeth. I'll remember that.

  3. Thank you for this! There have been many things going on lately that I obviously have no control over, but I stupidly worry about them. I want to not worry. I just keep on though... I definitely need to work on praying instead of worrying.

  4. Great post, Colleen. That quote of Padre Pio's is one of my favorites. Concern is one thing, all out worry quite another. Jesus warns against worry for the very good reasons you cited here. Worry turns us in on ourselves and away from God and that is a slippery slope to disaster. I truly pity those without faith because they don't realize they have Someone to turn to and to trust in to see them through what worries them. Let us always pray, hope and not worry, but always trust in God.
    Thanks and God bless.

  5. Karinann, love your comment. Faith is a great gift, as is knowledge of God as a tender, loving Father who wants to care for us!

  6. Heather, nice to have met you. Here's to both of us praying more and worrying less!

  7. I am such a worry wart. I needed this reminder!

  8. St. Padre Pio and St. John Vianney remind me of each other. I was just commenting on the similarities between them the other day on someone's blog! Great post, Colleen!

  9. Awesome! Thank you for posting this.

  10. Thanks, WallyGirl, for reading and taking the time to comment!