Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lenten Daily Dose - 1st Thursday

+In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Jesus said to his disciples: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock the door will be opening to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and the to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you  would hand his son a stone when he asks for a load of bread, or a snake when he asks for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.
"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets."

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord, Jesus Christ!

Reflection: There's a great place for trust and humility when we come to God with our petitions and intercessions. Petitionary prayer is a powerful simple reminder of a very important Truth: God is God and we aren't.  But more than that, he is Our Father and we go to Him in petitionary and intercessory prayer because He is God and Father and He has promised to give to His children that which they can not give to themselves.  In today's Gospel reading, Jesus is trying to accomplish two things, I think. First: he's trying to remind us that petitionary and intercessory prayer is a powerful thing and God will indeed answer our prayers.  But then he goes on to teach something else: moms and dads give their kids bread and fish when they're hungry because that's what moms and dads do. Jesus says, don't worry about that part- you'll be fed.  I think the fruit of this Gospel reading is implicit in it.

The point I think of our Gospel reading today is not the WHAT of prayer but the WHY of prayer. God will give to us what we need, no doubt. But the real fruit, the real point of prayer, is union with God. The point of prayer to discover the Will of God as to WHY He does and says and communicates the way He does. WHY does God answer some prayers and not others? Why does God allow pain and suffering and sin? WHY WHY WHY? This is the fruit of prayer- to seek after the answer to that question!

The invitation today is to deepen our prayer from petitionary and intercessory prayer to meditative prayer. Meditation is a form of deepened prayer that moves us to ponder the great mystery and depth of God. To seek after answers to our questions by pondering God's communication to His people through Scripture and the teachings of Jesus and the Tradition that's handed onto us through the Church's worship.

So, today, I invite you to begin a process of deepening your prayer life- your inner life of communication of God.  I invite all of us to spend at least ten minutes today in meditative prayer: quiet, motionless, nearly wordless prayer.  Take a scripture passage such as "I am the way, the truth and the life.", and ask the Lord to reveal in the depths of your heart the vast meaning of that sentence- that Truth.

And then try to make meditation a regular part of your daily prayer life. We continue to go to the Father and ask for the many things we need. But we also seek after the meaning of those gifts, and to understand, if in only a veiled and partial way, the Will of God.

This is union with God. This is what makes us Saints.

Peace to you today,

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