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Friday, March 24, 2006

Prayer, Suffering, and God's Answer

How deep do we dig into the life of Christ to answer our doubts and misgivings about human suffering? There are truths that are not very obvious to many of us, but should be. Perhaps those who regularly meditate on the sufferings of Christ in the Rosary or in the Stations of the Cross are well aware of these truths, however. It is unfortunate that we often use prayer as a last resort, but prayer is more than supplication. Prayer, being a living relationship with God, means being intimate with him, whether or not we use words. Contemplative prayer is powerful not because we can cram all our supplications in it, but because we can be intimate with our God. It isn't because we can reveal our needs to God (because he knows our hearts better than we do, before we ask), but because God reveals himself to us best in prayer. It is when we are suffering that God wants us to draw near to Him, as a loving Father is the most tender when His child is stricken. God may seem to delay His response, but it may be "so as to give us even more than we are asking for."

Fr. Cantalamessa, the papal preacher, reveals this amazing truth:


"Jesus teaches us that the first thing to do in these cases is to turn to God with prayer," said the Capuchin.

But, he asked, what if one has already prayed to God without success?

"Keep on praying ... with greater intensity," he said.

The papal preacher said some might point out that Jesus' prayers to be freed from his trial and torment had gone unanswered.

But God was listening, Father Cantalamessa said, he just had something else in mind; rather than have his son avoid the passion and death on the cross, "God's true, great fulfillment" of Jesus' supplication was his resurrection.

My thanks to The Catholic Report for that story.


Mercy Now said...

Good words...but because God reveals himself to us best in prayer.

Jeff Tan said...

Prayer -- it's the place to be! :-)