HAPPY ARE THOSE WHO HAVE PLACED THEIR TRUST IN GOD
(THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2019)
In his parables on the power of persistence in prayer in the passages from Luke, Jesus helps us understand the need to continue to ask of God, to petition for help and guidance, to form good aspirations and expect good things from our prayer. These passages on one level help us understand that God will answer our requests with good gifts. But one difficult thing is that God gives us good gifts that only God might see as being good. This has a similar understanding with a story from Tony deMello where the master reminds his followers that our lives are like beautiful tapestries that God weaves with our talents and gifts. We fail to see the beauty many times because we are viewing the tapestry from the reverse side, while God can see it in all its glory. So too the responses we might receive in our prayer – we fail to see their goodness because we look with mortal eyes instead of from God’s perspective.
Looking at the gospel of today, we will not deny the generosity of God or His action and gifts to us. And, we understand how we can fall into this image especially when we read the language in scripture like “ask and it will be given.” We certainly find ourselves at times praying with this image of God. But today, our attention is drawn to the end of the Gospel reading where it says “how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Jesus is trying to help us see that God is always with us in great abundance. The Father is giving us a Presence, not presents. With the Presence of the Holy Spirit with us, what more could we ask for? We have to take time to notice, to see how the Holy Spirit is present with us – in creation, Scripture, Eucharist, prayer, those who cross our paths, our imaginations and dreams, – just to name a few. God is everywhere and in everything, that is the great gift of God, we are never alone
On another level, though, these passages from Luke help us see the need for our own persistence, and perhaps more importantly, our perseverance. In the first story, the visitor continues asking until he receives what he desires. In the second, those who ask, receive – if you don’t ask, if you don’t try, if you don’t pray, you may likely not receive. Persistence – continuing to dialogue – God will answer, but we must initiate and ask. God is always there for us.
And what should we ask for, what should we pray for, what should we desire? One thing that we could all use, I suspect, is the strength to avoid the counsel of the wicked. We might forget that the goodness of this world, the gifts that we have received, the successes that we have, all are nothing unless we use them to serve the Lord. We might listen to those who argue we do not need to help the poor because they should help themselves, that we should not give them food because they should fish for themselves, and shelter themselves, and clothe themselves, and forget that Jesus calls us to feed and clothe and shelter, and love without judging, without expectation of recompense, without doing a calculus that tries to determine who is “worthy” of our giving.
Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, once said: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” When we take greater satisfaction in what we have than in how we serve, in what we own than in what we give, in what we want than in what we need, we are ignoring our spiritual side in favour of our human side. When we place too much stock in our abilities to provide for ourselves and forget to be like the birds of the sky who do not fear for their future but glory in the gift of their present, we are looking through the backside of our tapestry. When we forget we are spiritual creations of a loving God, then we prevent ourselves from fully realizing our unique identity and from serving our Creator in the way we are called to do.
Let Us Pray: Lord Jesus, give me the grace to pray with faith and may my prayers find answers in your presence. Amen.