Saturday, August 16, 2014

Great is Your Faith

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

[T]hem I will bring to my holy mountain and make joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar, for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.  Isaiah 56:7

For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.  Romans 11:32

“O woman, great is your faith!  Let it be done for you as you wish.”  And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.  Matthew 15:28

Our piety allows us to approach Christ many different ways.  The Canaanite woman approaches as one who does not belong to the Israelites.  Christ sees his mission to the Jews to recall them into being God’s people. The leaders of God’s people rejected Jesus.  This foreign woman sees what Jesus has done for those of his people that approached him with faith and know what to ask.  Because she does not belong, she is turned down at first.  Jesus comes to feed his people with the Good News of salvation.  She wants what belongs to God’s people and is turned down.  Her humility in asking captures the attention of God’s Spirit in Christ.  “Even dogs get the leftover scraps from the Father’s table.”  She challenges Jesus to go beyond his mission and he responds to the call of her love for her daughter.  Jesus gives her the miracle she is asking for and at the same time finds his own horizons broadened.

The Canaanite woman is a quick study in how to approach Jesus for what we want and need from God.  We learn the ways our prayers could be answered.  We are given what we ask.  We are given something so much better than what we were asking that we do not recognize the answer to our prayer.  We are given at another time what was asked for and we realize that the time of the gift is always the best time for us to receive it.  We study the answers to our prayers and discover that God never leaves us unanswered.

The best of all our actions is always prayer.  Since God answers our prayer with what we really need, our most frequent prayer should be the prayer of gratitude.  It is worth resolving that every action of our lives begins with a prayer.  It is worth inviting the Lord to send us the inspirations of what we should be about and help us in what we are doing that we might truly be Contemplatives in Action.  The greatest gift we have been given by God is our freedom and our return of our freedom to God has its fullest expression when see God at work in whatever we are doing.  We are all called to be Contemplatives in Action. We pray as if everything depends on us and we work as if everything depends on God.  Thus, we make prayer out of all our actions and honor God by inviting him to be all of ourselves.  We die to self to be born again in Christ.

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