Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thursday of the First Week of Lent 2012

From the time that we were able to understand some of the messages that parents were offering to us, we were taught that if we took the time to pray to our God that he would give us what it is that we need.  In today's gospel we read or hear these words:  "Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find."

How often have you purchased a lottery ticket with a prayer?  Can you count the number of times that you have prayed for someone with cancer only to find yourself attending a funeral?  Were our parents, the  parish priests or the nuns (if we attend a Catholic school when and where that now rare breed of human beings existed) out of touch with religious reality?  Or is it that there were secret codes we did not know when we made our petitions to Jesus, God the Father, the Holy Spirit, Mary, St. Joseph or any other of the myriad of saints?

Once again in our adult lives we confront a reality we might wish did not exist:  we just do not ask God for the things that we need most of all.  No one of us in a right frame of mind would present a loaded gun to a five year old child to play at what was a favorite activity in my youth, "cowboys and Indians."  Even a sensible teen would know better than to put such a loaded weapon in the hands of a five year old person.  Clearly God is not going to give anyone of us children a "toy" or a "gift" that will bring us harm despite what we might think is what we need.

So, what is the "it" that will be given to us?  We must trust.  God will only give us what we should have in our lives.  Of course this leads to a further inquiry in our adult minds and hearts.  If that is the way this God of ours actually acts, why should be spend any time in prayer, any time talking or asking of God?

It is important to consider what it is that we ask for in our prayers, our petitions.   If we take the time to examine the various petitions we place before God, we might find a clearer understanding of the degree of importance in our asks.  We must face the difference between needs and wants.  This is what God uses as his scale to determine what we want.  Even Jesus had to face this reality when he prayed just prior to the onset of his passion and death.  No garden ever heard or witness such a petition that seemingly went unanswered.  Where would we be if God had taken away the chalice that Jesus knew he would be forced to drink?  Would there be any redemption for the sinner?  Ours is a wise God!  Don't sell him short.