in keeping with our Rule of 6, i have been attempting to give it a moment of contemplation every few days to see if we are being faithful to what we deem important. earlier in the week, the boys & i were discussing "attention to our faith...privately & as a family."
this led to a discussion about praying. naturally there are many different ways to pray, to be in the Presence of our Creator. my boys wondered about petitions (prayers of requests, or begging, depending on one's state of mind & level of need)...we've been doing a lot of that around here in the last year or so. we have many friends for whom we have been praying for healing. the boys went in the direction of "how exactly are our prayers answered."
we are told..."ask & you shall receive."
that seems pretty straightforward. it doesn't say "you shall sometimes receive." it says "shall receive." there is always an answer. the boys wondered about the answer. what if what we ask isn't what's best for us. after all, we only have a people-eye view of the Big Picture. we are not privy to the God's-eye view.
i told them my humble thoughts on this...the answer may be...
i've got something better in mind.
"yes" is easy & it's grand! woo hoo!!! we all love a "yes."
"not yet" is hard. we think we know what we want & once we have arrived at this knowing, we usually want it *right now*!! i am quite the spiritual toddler sometimes. "wait" is a four letter word to me some days. one of my petition-prayer-wait-answers went *years* before one day i could see the clouds of my mind clear & the very first step of the "not waiting anymore" answered. only the first step, mind you. some more years have passed & i am still in the midst of piecemeal answers to this long-ago prayer. & i have made peace with this process (good thing, huh?). what i have begun to see is that my own ready-made answer all those years ago looks nothing like the current answers & i find myself oh-so-very-glad about that. i much prefer this newer, better, i-never-thought-the-answer-would-be-this answer!
"i've got something better in mind" is also hard for many of the same reasons. we think we have *all* or maybe most of the answers. it is hard to believe there could possibly be "something better"...but so many times there is. acceptance of this answer requires a lot of humility in petition prayers. i have to humbly ask & be open to the "something better." the "something better" often looks confusing at first & it requires patience & discernment on my part. it does eventually become apparent, & it takes you by surprise when you are hit with the realization of what it is.
"ask & you shall receive" is from the Gospel of St. Matthew. & today happens to be the feast in our Church calendar of St. Matthew. as i was contemplating art this morning (considering doing Fine Art Friday on the blog like i've seen & enjoyed elsewhere) with this feast day in mind, i remembered one of the most compelling pieces of art i have ever seen...
The Calling of St. Matthew by Caravaggio hangs in San Luigi dei Francesi in Roma (in situ it is so much more provocative & i apologize for the inability to convey the light & size here with a measly blog post). i have always been fascinated by St. Matthew's response to Jesus' "follow me." he just did it. no "but first i have to's"... no hesitations... i love the "who, me?" (or maybe it's a "busted") look on St. Matthew's face in Caravaggio's portrayal of this passage. that is exactly how i feel when i am wallowing in my own muck so often...who me? St. Matthew moved past his love of money & took a giant step into something more spectacular...the love of God, the love of others, a life of service. he answered the Call to Love right then & there.
i must remember to ask. i must remember to humbly accept. i must remember to wait if need be. i must remember to follow. i must remember to just do it. i must remember the call to Love!