• May 18, 2023, Today’s Rosary on YouTube | Daily broadcast at 7:30 pm ET
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Friends of the Rosary:
The petition is the key to God’s fatherly heart, the key that opens up the treasures of divine mercy.
But how often do we ask in vain for some favor? How must we pray in order to have our prayers heard? The answer may lie in the object for which we pray, in defects in our disposition, or in the spirit that animates us.
a) The object of prayer. The words of Christ are indeed general in character, they set no limit to the object of one’s petition. Nevertheless, our Savior clearly stated that only such pleas will be answered which harmonize with the aims of the kingdom of God. He said: “If you, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
God will not give his children harmful gifts. the phrase “good things” is mystical and can perhaps be best explained as covering items that will serve our eternal goal. Certainly we may pray for material favorites, but on the condition that they will be “good things” for us. Sometimes God answers a prayer by granting the opposite to that which is asked; instead of a stone, a serpent, or scorpion, He blesses us with bread, eggs, or fish.
b) The second reason why our prayers may not be heard lies in our personal disposition, our lack of faith and love and humility. (1) Whenever Christ performed a miracle, He demanded faith as a prerequisite. On one occasion the apostles could not heal a possess body; to their queries Jesus said, “Because of your little faith; for amen I say to you, if you have faith like a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain: Remove from here, and it will remove. And nothing will be impossible to you” (Mt 17:19). We need the faith that moves mountains. (2) A second obstacles is our lack of love. If we ourselves neither give nor forgive, we can expect no favors from God. In his epistle St. Peter makes a pertinent observation: “Husband, in like manner dwell with your wives considerately, paying honor to the woman as to the weaker vessel…that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Pt 3:7). Our prayers are “hindered” through lack of love for our neighbor. (3) Lack of humility likewise closes God’s dispensing hand. We need only recall the story of the publican and the pharisee. The same parable also teaching us that past sin does not prevent prayers from being heard. God listens to the prayer of a humble sinner rather than to the effusions of a just but proud man.
c) Finally, the spirit with which one prays is important. Do you pray perseveringly, in union with others, submissive to God’s will? (1) The two Gospel parables speak clearly of persevering, even importunate petition. God wants to hear our prayers. He does not, however, want us to dictate the time when He should respond. There is high pedagogical wisdom in that God does not reply at once to our prayers. Perseverance in pleading is good training spiritually, and it purifies our longing. One who is expecting further gifts will more easily be grateful for benefits already received. Old age had already come upon Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, before his petition was granted. (2) A special efficacy is attached to prayer made in common. “If two of you shall agree on earth about anything at all for which they ask, it shall be done for them by My Father in heaven” (Mt 18:19). (3) Lastly, our prayer must be rooted deeply in God’s holy will. Of this there is no example more moving and convincing than that of Christ Himself during His agony on Mt. Olivet. His Father did not hear Him, did not remove the chalice from Him. And yet our Savior’s prayer was answered. He was given strength to drink the chalice to its dregs.
Prayer does not imply the gratification of one’s own will, rather that we submerge our wills in that of God. In prayer, in every act, we must leave behind our own pagan, egotistical selves and selflessly seek the good of God’s kingdom. As long as prayer serves nothing more than one’s own selfish interests, it will never be heard. However, once our hearts and minds are oriented to welfare of God’s kingdom, then prayer will become the bond uniting us most intimately to God. Then we will realize what tremendous power it has.
Jesus, I Trust In You!
+ Mikel A. | RosaryNetwork.com, New York