Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Pray as if everything depended upon God and work as if everything depended upon man"

God answers all prayers - Sometimes, the answer is no - When this happens, do we accept His will or insist on our own? As if we know better……??? Once, someone asked Mother Teresa - What is your secret? She answered them, “My secret is simple, I pray.”

Gospel text (Lk 18:1-8): Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should pray continually and not lose heart. He said, «In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor people. In the same town was a widow who kept coming to him, saying: ‘Defend my rights against my opponent’. For a time he refused, but finally he thought: ‘Even though I neither fear God nor care about people, this widow bothers me so much I will see that she gets justice; then she will stop coming and wearing me out’».

And Jesus explained, «Listen to what the evil judge says. Will God not do justice for his chosen ones who cry to him day and night even if He delays in answering them? I tell you, He will speedily do them justice. Yet, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?».

For most people, prayer is a struggle. The struggle is intertwined with blessings, moments of profound peace, and the obvious presence of God. Trust and perseverance: two lessons that we are reminded of as we consider this Sunday's Gospel passage. Although prayer is very effective, nevertheless, it is true that prayer is not an easy enterprise. The spiritual life will always be a battle. There will always be obstacles that are necessary to overcome if we wish to live a life of prayer. This Sunday's Gospel narrative reminds us that we are to trust in God and draw close to him through a life of prayer.

Why should we pray at all? Is there a mystical number of asking and we tire God out and bingo, here it is! Is there a certain set of words which trips the benevolent bucket? People ask priests, to pray for them as if God has a special ear for priestly prayers. Maybe in addition to asking for prayers, we should pray that the faithful take their situation to prayer themselves instead of watching and waiting for God’s presence rather than presents! What Jesus is asking of the disciples is a faith that combines with hope.
We are generally pragmatists. We put in time, effort, words, works, thought, creativity and expect, yes, demand results pdq! This is not faith, it is business. Apparently God is presently out of that kind of business and into personal and communal relating.

Why are we called to pray? We pray so that we can experience our central human truths. We are not god. We are limited. We desire union, peace, and joy. We love being human until we experience needs, losses, injuries, and fears. We are invited to kneel right down in the midst of it all and have faith, which is not always pragmatically available and not to our liking. We pray to announce our dependencies and our truth that faith, hope, watching and waiting are those things which Jesus is asking for of the disciples.
We would rather have Jesus open up for business and we would gladly be His business agents, consultors and product managers and sometimes, that is how we sometimes pray.

The Virgin Mary is a model of prayer, also of petition prayer. At Cana of Galilee she was able to advance Jesus' timing, the time of the miracles, with her petition, full of love for those newly weds and full of trust in her Son.

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