Saturday, January 20, 2018

Even Before We Ask...

In the Prologue to his Rule, Saint Benedict tells us, “If you desire true and eternal life, keep your tongue free from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit; turn away from evil and do good; let peace be your quest and aim. Once you have done this, my eyes will be upon you and my ears will listen for your prayers; and even before you ask me, I will say to you: Here I am.”

Echoing Benedict's words Archbishop Alban Goodier, SJ wrote many years later, “Every soul comes to prayer wanting something; it may not know what that 'something' is, it may not 'know what it asks for when it prays,' but it longs and desires nevertheless; and often, for very many indeed, the whole of prayer consists in the expression of that desire and longing – ‘My God, I want’ – ‘What do you want?’ – ‘I know not what I want, but I want.’ - In how many is this the prayer of their whole lives! Beautiful and powerful prayer, truly contemplative prayer, though such souls, because they seem to get no farther, think they do not pray at all.” 

God understands more than we can possibly understand the deepest desires of our hearts, the longings that we cannot express in words. As Saint Paul reminds us, "The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words."

God is with us; God wants our good.

Photograph by Brother Brian.