October 9, 2008
Thursday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Luke 11: 5-13
Jesus said to his disciples: "Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,' and he says in reply from within, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.' I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"
Introductory Prayer: Lord, you teach me several valuable lessons about prayer today. I need to show you that I truly desire what I ask of you. To do that I need to believe that I am being heard and to hope that you will grant me what I need. I love you for your infinite goodness, because you give me above and beyond what I ask, going so far as to give me the Holy Spirit.
Petition: Lord, give me a double portion of your Spirit.
1. Real Need
It’s one thing to keep a neighbor from sleeping because I am upset with him, and quite another to wake up a friend. Only real need would make me wake up my friend. But because he is a friend, I would expect him to help me in my need, even if he rolled over several times, saying, “Go away and wait until tomorrow.” In our real needs, God always hears us. He doesn’t turn away from us egotistically saying, “Don’t bother me now.” He silently waits for us for hours, and sometimes days on end, in the tabernacle. Suddenly when we do decide to visit him, do you think that at that very moment he is going to turn away? On the contrary, his heart leaps for joy when we come to visit him.
2. Persistence and Charity
St. Paul says, “God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love” (2 Timothy 1:7). Timidity will get us nowhere. Love, however, insists – especially when what we are asking is not for ourselves, but for a beloved person. This is the case in Jesus’ example. It should also be the case when I ask for something. Perhaps I have not received in the past because my motives have been too selfish.
3. Gift of the Holy Spirit
Even when my petitions, motivated by charity, are most often for others, there is one thing that God does want me to request for myself. He wants me to ask for the Gift of the Holy Spirit. God does not want to give me only a gift, but to give me the Giver of all true, noble and beautiful gifts.
Conversation with Christ: Jesus, I want to learn to be persistent in prayer. Often times I lackadaisically ask for something and then give up, as if saying, “See, God does not really hear my prayers.” I recognize that you want me to desire ardently what I ask for and to ask for it out of love. You and the Father want to give me your Holy Spirit, but you want me to long for this most excellent gift. My desiring the Holy Spirit carves out in me a space for him to live and to act in my soul.
Resolution: I will be attentive to the needs of those around me and pray insistently for God to bless a particular need. I will ask for the Holy Spirit for myself.
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