By Deacon John Cronin:
When I was just a young child,
I Loved having sleep-over’s at my grandmother’s house.
We called her Nanny,
And she prayed several times a day.
She’d pray the Rosary,
She’d pray from daily prayer books,
She’d pray from a stack of prayer cards for friends and family who had died,
And she prayed from a little piece of paper
Filled with a running list of personal petitions that grew ever longer.
The paper was worn and tattered from being folded and refolded every day.
She couldn’t bear to forget anyone,
Especially prayers for her children:
That Helene would go to Mass again;
That Ed would come to visit more often;
That the winter would be short,
so Jack could make more money in construction to feed the kids.
I admired how prayerful Nanny was,
But I wondered:
“What if you don’t get what you want?”
“Why pray so hard?”
Nanny simply said:
“God always gives me what I need,
Even when I don’t get what I want.”
Today’s Gospel gives us Luke’s version of the “Our Father.”
It is itself a prayer of petition,
Asking God our Father to give us what we need,
Even if it is not what we think we want.
[P A U S E]
Jesus urges us to persist at prayer.
To never stop.
Never “be put to the final test.”
Meaning, never give in to the temptation to abandon God.
Even if you’re not sure you’re asking for the right things,
Even if you think he’s not listening.
Prayer isn’t so much for what we want,
But to receive what God wants for us.
The “Our Father” asks for the coming of the Kingdom.
But who’s the king?
Should we use prayer to run the world as we see fit?
[P A U S E]
The “Our Father” presumes that God is our king.
Prayer draws us closer to that king as Our loving Father.
It helps us draw near to His will for us.
To transform our unhealthy wills into His perfect will,
And not so He can show us who’s boss,
But simply because he loves us and wants us to be truly happy.
Back to my Nanny:
She told my mother that I would become a priest.
Not that I’d be a good one!
Or that she hoped I’d become one.
But just that it will happen.
My mother shared this with me just 3 years ago –
as I told her I was going to seminary.
And Mom’s prayer for me – over my 45 years –
Was a very simple one:
That I would be happy.
Being happy is to draw near to our Loving Father’s will.
To accept his will as our own,
And to love that will.
So I don’t pray that Nanny was right,
And that God makes me a priest.
I only pray that I love his will as if it were my very own.
How liberating it is!
To draw near to the Lord,
To share our deepest thoughts and feelings with Him –
He knows them already –
But sharing them with him invites his loving presence into our lives.
Persistent prayer transforms our hearts.
Prayer makes us hospitable
For the Holy Spirit to dwell within.
No matter what tragedy, or struggle, or burden befalls us,
We will have what we truly need:
Intimate Union with God.
A love that cannot be destroyed.
We may fall many times,
But God never tires of lifting us up.
Never tire of seeking His mercy, and His healing presence.
“Ask and you will receive;
Seek and you will find;
Knock and the door will be opened to you.”
To know and to love the will of God:
That comes with persistent prayer.
And that will make us truly happy.
At peace – in the presence of Our Loving Father.