March 14 - Ask and You Shall Receive
Mar 13, 2019
Scripture: Queen Esther was a Jewish woman who was in a difficult situation. Her husband, King Xerxes, was convinced by an adviser to have all of the Jews in the kingdom slaughtered. Esther put her life and the life of all the Jewish people into the hands of God for deliverance from this great evil. She fasted, laid prostrate on the ground, and prayed fervently that the Lord would free His chosen people from their enemies and in the process destroy their enemies. The Lord entreats us to encounter him in this deep type of prayer during the season of Lent. Not only did Christ promise that the Lord knows how to give good things to those who ask, he did not ask us to practice presumption. Jesus wanted us to be advocates for our needs and the needs of others, to reach out humbly to the Lord, and accept whatever good the Lord has prepared.
Core Faith Principle: There are four major types of prayer which can be remembered through the acronym ACTS. The first type of prayer is Adoration, we adore the law when we communicate our appreciation for the beauty and glory of God. In adoration we pour out our Love for God for who God is, not just for the good things that God has done. God is inseparable from His works, so we may praise and worship God for his mighty deeds as well. The second type is Contrition, this is where we recognize our offenses to the Lord. By taking ownership of our weakness, our flaws, our sins, and our cooperation with evil, we can subject ourselves to the Lord's discipline and mercy. We can form a resolve to sin no more and avoid whatever leads us to sin. We prepare ourselves for Divine Judgment by practicing the reception of mercy and by learning to accept the severity of our sin. Many saints have said that many flee from heaven so as not to face the harm they caused our Lord. The third type of prayer is Thanksgiving. This our action of thanking God for every good thing that we do have. It is important to recognize that everything we have comes from God. We could not hold our careers unless God gave us an intellect, we couldn't win a game of soccer without the Lord giving the gift of working limbs, etc. The pinnacle of Thanksgiving is the Eucharist itself. Eucharist means Thanksgiving. That which we should be most grateful for is our ability Through Him [Christ], with Him, and in Him for us mere humans to share Divine Life. Finally there is Supplication, that is asking for God's help like Queen Esther but also supplication involves a full surrender to the will of God.
Living this at Home: Practicing thanksgiving during Lent is perhaps one of the best times to do it. As we sacrifice things we love, we can be thankful for the good that those things provide. Being thankful that you have access to a treat like candy, even though you may have given it up for Lent. Let's say that someone gave up television for Lent, they may be more thankful for books than they were before. It may seem counter intuitive but perhaps consider having a "Thanksgiving in Lent." Pick a Sunday (as it technically isn't a a day of fasting), and invite your family together like you might for Thanksgiving (this time for a more simple meal, not a feast). Without the pressures of Christmas (Black Friday) or all the other trappings, have a meal that celebrates your family, friends, or other people that you love. For Grace, or as part of dinner conversation, go around the table and say what each person is thankful for. Unlike regular Thanksgiving, make sure that this day includes Mass attendance and also make sure that a portion of the day's activities is devoted to giving thanks as a family to God. By doing it here, you can see that the Lord will bless that day and those efforts, and you'll find yourself doing the same thing in the fall.