Regnum Christi | Legionaries of Christ

Weekly Digest of the Regnum Christi Daily Meditations – August 9 – 16, 2020

Sunday, August 9, 2020 – Peter on the Water and in the Water

Monday, August 10, 2020 – The Force of Love

Tuesday, August 11, 2020 – No Cheap Souls

Wednesday, August 12, 2020 – Tough Moments

Thursday, August 13, 2020 – Human Harshness vs. the Charity of a Saint

Friday, August 14, 2020 – From the Beginning It Was Not So…

Saturday, August 15, 2020 – God Lifts Up the Lowly

Sunday, August 16, 2020 – Ask and You Shall Receive

 


August 9, 2020 – Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Peter on the Water and in the Water

 

Father Steven Reilly, LC

Matthew 14: 22-33

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Introductory Prayer: Father, I believe in you with all my heart. I trust in your infinite goodness and mercy. Thank you for guiding me so patiently along the pathway to everlasting life. I love you and offer all that I have and all that I do to you, for your glory and the salvation of souls.

Petition: Lord, help me to trust in you when I am making my decisions.

The Divine Name: As if being battered by the wind and waves weren’t enough to instill a feeling of doom and dread, in the midst of it all, the apostles saw a shadowy figure gliding along the water. They were scared! Who wouldn’t be? Jesus speaks directly to their fear. “Take heart, it is I,” – literally in early Greek translation, “I am.” This is biblical code language that evokes in a powerful way the presence of God. When Moses stood before the burning bush, at a loss as to how he, the tongue-tied fugitive from Egypt, was supposed to go back to the Pharaoh and convince that hardened soul to liberate the enslaved Hebrews, he felt he just could not do it. God’s answer to Moses’ hesitation and doubt was to tell Moses his name, “I AM”. God’s very name is presence, and that presence brings reassurance. We are not alone as we face life’s challenges.

Walking on Water: Peter’s gut reaction is to believe in Christ. “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” As he stands up in the boat, preparing for that daring leap, the other disciples are hunkered down, still holding on for dear life. Peter’s faith inspires us: At times we face crucial decisions and feel like we are about to jump out of a boat as well. The indecision we experience can seem rational. We don’t want to drown, after all. But Peter’s leap was not simply blind or foolhardy. He knew that by himself he was better off putting on a life jacket. But Christ was commanding him, “Come.” This story is not a recipe for rashness. It is a story of faith-filled obedience. When we know in our heart of hearts that Jesus has said “Come,” the leap that we take is a good decision because it is grounded in faith and trust.

A Helping Hand: Peter takes the leap, but he brings all his flaws with him as he lands on the solid water. The wind and the waves overwhelm his awareness of the miracle, and along with the doubt he finds himself in the water. How beautiful that Peter’s very fall awakens his faith again. He does not attempt to rely on his own swimming prowess to get back into the boat. He cries out, “Lord, save me.” Christ’s heart is filled with mercy. He immediately stretches out his hand to save his water-logged vicar. He is anxious for Peter—and us—to learn the lesson. “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” In other words, “Don’t take your eyes off of me! I will keep you afloat.”

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, you called Peter to walk on water. As long as he believed in you and your power he was fine, but his doubt got the upper hand. Strengthen my faith so that I can be obedient to you. Help me when the wind and the waves are fierce, and the inclination to doubt asserts itself. Help me to stay on top of the water!

Resolution: I will pray first and then make faith-filled decisions today.


August 10, 2020 – Feast of Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr

The Force of Love

 

John 12:24-26

Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, today you give me the example of St Lawrence. He gave his life so that your name would be honored and loved by all people. I would like to have the courage to follow his example of courageous love and die to myself so that I will merit graces for the many souls in need.

Petition: Lord, help me to forget myself and put your interests before mine.

  1. Christ’s Love: Christ would never demand something of us that he has not already lived himself. There is no deity worshiped by men, other than Jesus Christ, who has sacrificed his life out of love for his believers. It is Christ’s sacrificial love which has the power to multiply love in our lives. Christ’s act of selfless love gives birth to other acts of the same kind.
  2. St. Lawrence: St Lawrence was a deacon of the early Church in the middle of the third century. He died a martyr by being roasted slowly on a grill. When he had been grilled for some time, he asked his murderers to turn him over so as to “grill the other side”! Lawrence’s faith and courageous love are fruits of Christ’s sacrifice. Although we may not be called to such heroism, Christ won the same grace for us to bear our crosses and live a life of selfless love and generosity.
  3. Fruit of Fidelity: When we reflect on the lives of the saints, we are inspired by their faithful service to Christ and his Church. Their fidelity is a fruit of Christ’s fidelity. Our own acts of fidelity will give life and courage to others to do the same. Constant fidelity is above all the fruit of the grace of God, and our cooperation with it. Constant fidelity until death is the fruit of the fruits of this grace combined with our response. God is the one who creates in a soul the indispensable greatness needed for fidelity. Above all, he grants us the daily gift of his fortitude to persevere in it.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me to be more generous in my daily commitments to you. Although you may not be calling me to be a martyr like St Lawrence, please allow me to offer small sacrifices each day for the Church and the salvation of souls.

Resolution: I will offer a sacrifice of fidelity to my prayer or apostolic commitments today for the souls in purgatory.


August 11, 2020  – Memorial of Saint Clare, Virgin

No Cheap Souls

 

Father Steven Reilly, LC

Matthew 18:1-5 10, 12-14

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father. What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord God, I believe you are present here with me as I begin this moment of prayer. I hope in you. I know that you will always take care of me. I want this time with you to be a sign of my love for you. I seek only to please you, without desiring any spiritual consolation for myself.

Petition: Heart of Christ, make my heart more like yours!

  1. Angelic Occupations: Raphael’s famous painting of Mary known as the “Sistine Virgin” has a remarkable detail that immediately catches the observer’s eye: Beneath the Blessed Virgin, two little cherubs are in a unique pose. They look a little bored with all the attention that Pope Saint Sixtus and Saint Barbara are paying to the Madonna and Child; they look as if they can’t wait to go out and play once all the fuss is over. Obviously, Raphael’s sense of humor doesn’t do the angelic nature justice. Supremely intelligent, spiritual creatures, angels “always look upon the face of the heavenly Father.” Their task? To watch over and protect us. Doesn’t that show us how much God loves each one of us individually? Doesn’t that tell us of the value of a single soul?
  2. The Shepherd’s Commitment: The Lord lifts a veil from the invisible world of the angels so that we better understand how much God loves us; now he gives us the precious image of the shepherd going in pursuit of the lost sheep. The shepherd braves raw exposure to the elements and danger from wild animals in his relentless effort to find the one sheep who has wandered off. Christ is committed to keeping the flock together. Are we as committed to bringing back the lost sheep?
  3. No One Left Behind: Americans love the rugged individualist, the one who lifts himself up by dint of his own focus and effort. There’s virtue there, to be sure, but Catholics need a broader vision. Besides lost sheep, there are weak, marginalized and sick ones. If we have the heart of Christ, no one can be left behind. Every time we reach out in sacrificial love, we are making Christ present in the world. We are called to be his ambassadors!

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, your love gives us hope. You have given us angels to watch over us, and you yourself are constantly bringing back the lost sheep. Give us hearts like your own, hearts filled with Christian charity!

Resolution: I will reach out to someone who is sick or has drifted


August 12, 2020  – Wednesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Tough Moments

 

Father Steven Reilly, LC

Matthew 18: 15-20

Jesus said to his disciples: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Introductory Prayer: Father, thank you for this time of prayer. Help me to be attentive to the inspirations of your Holy Spirit. This day may be filled with many challenges and activities but throughout them all I invite you to be with me.

Petition: Lord, help me to me an instrument of your peace.

  1. If Your Brother Sins Against You: Catholic life is filled with many peaks and valleys. The Church’s soul is the Holy Spirit, but the body’s members can be less than saintly. At times, people can be scandalized by the “humanity” of the Church. “Isn’t he a Catholic? How can he do that?” Jesus, however, was not surprised, and we find him in the Gospel today outlining a procedure to deal with sinful behavior. Our love for the Church is realistic: Jesus came to save sinners; we can’t be surprised when we encounter sin. But realism isn’t cynical. We know that God is infinitely more powerful than our sinfulness. “Where sin has abounded, grace has abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20).
  2. Fraternal Correction: Very often the sin that we encounter in the Church is right under our own roof. Fraternal correction can be a duty of charity; however, if we relish the thought, that’s a bad sign. We need to purify our intention of wounded pride or any thought of payback. Our motive must be to truly help the other person. Part of this is the desire to be effective, and this means doing things the right way. Going public is not the first step, as the Lord makes clear. By quietly seeking reconciliation we can do much to bring healing to our relationships.
  3. The Power of Prayer: Interpersonal conflicts can be among the heaviest crosses that we bear. When the hurts and the slights have accumulated beyond counting and forgiveness is either hard to give or hard to obtain, what is there left to do? The Lord tells us: Pray! Get others to pray with us and for us. “Where two or three are gathered in my name.…” The Lord wants to act in and through our prayer. As Catholics who believe in the gospels, we know that miracles happen. Sometimes it may seem that only a miracle will bring about reconciliation. Miracles will come only to those who ask for them.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, you taught us to gather together in prayer. Grant your Church greater unity and charity. Help us to help each other. Give us the humility to be open to correction. I believe that your love will triumph!

Resolution: I will pray fervently before correcting anyone.


August 13, 2020  – Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Human Harshness vs. the Charity of a Saint

 

Father Steven Reilly, LC

Matthew 18:21 – 19:1

Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’ Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.” When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.

Introductory Prayer: Lord God, I believe you are present here with me as I begin this moment of prayer. I hope in you. I know that you will always take care of me. I want this time with you to be a sign of my love for you. I seek only to please you, without desiring any spiritual consolation for myself.

Petition: Lord, grant me a more forgiving heart!

  1. Human Harshness: “He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’” The Gospel gives a startling example of human harshness. History recalls another one. We celebrate his memorial tomorrow. In Auschwitz, the camp deputy commander, Karl Fritzch, decided that the most effective way to keep prisoners from trying to escape would be an overwhelming example of reprisal. Ten men in Block 13 were picked out for starvation. The thought of innocent men dying because of another’s escape would definitely make anyone think twice about it. The master of our Lord’s story is angry at the harshness of his servant. We can only imagine the Lord’s anger at the harshness of a place like Auschwitz, called by Pope-Emeritus Benedict, “a place of horror” and “unprecedented mass crimes” (May 28, 2006). Let us purge our own hearts of the evil of harshness, which brings down such misery on our own soul.
  2. St. Maximilian Steps Forward: The Lord’s answer to Peter in this Gospel, “not seven times but seventy-seven times,” points to a heroic living of the virtue of charity and forgiveness. St. Maximilian Kolbe, whose feast we celebrate tomorrow, gives us an example of that kind of love. When the commander had picked out his ten victims, St. Maximilian had been passed over. No doubt the others who were spared were breathing intense sighs of relief. Instead, St. Maximilian stepped forward and offered to take the place of one of those chosen, Franciszek Gajowniczek, who cried out in anguish over his family. We can only shake our heads in amazement that the flame of love could burn so brightly in that “place of horror.”
  3. The Cross Sets the Standard: The examples of the saints challenge us. They don’t give us a “superhuman” example, but rather the testimony of what men and women are capable of doing when they allow the grace of God to work in their souls. We, too, have many occasions when we are called to live a higher degree of virtue, but so often we cut ourselves a little too much slack. When Peter asked about a seven-fold forgiveness, he was being quite generous. But the “seventy-seven times” that Jesus speaks about is measured against the Cross, the symbol of the Lord’s infinite love and forgiveness. Saints like Kolbe understood this. Let’s try to imitate it today, in ways both big and small.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I can only be amazed at your work through the soul of St. Maximilian Kolbe. You enabled him to lay down his life for another, in imitation of your own self-sacrificing love. Help me to embrace the same path of love and forgiveness.

Resolution: I will immediately forgive any wrongs I suffer today, and I will try to sacrifice myself in a hidden way for someone else.


August 14, 2020 – Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

From the Beginning It Was Not So…

 

Matthew 19: 3-12

Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?” He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?” He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.” His disciples said to him, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” He answered, “Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord God, I believe in your presence here with me as I begin this moment of prayer. I hope in you. I know that you will always take care of me. I want this time with you to be a sign of my love for you. I seek only to please you, without desiring any spiritual consolation for myself.

Petition: Lord God, fill me with your grace so I can meet your lofty expectations.

  1. Hardness of Their Hearts: The Pharisees heard Jesus’ teaching against divorce at the Sermon on the Mount, a teaching which contradicted the practice of the Jews. And so, they sought to trap him in this instance into putting his teaching in opposition to Moses. They were hoping to discredit him. But Jesus knew their twisted intentions and grounded his teaching on God’s original plan for man and woman. He knows that they were looking to get around the will of God and carve exceptions. Jesus felt no need to pander to the crowd or offer an easier way out when challenged. His focus was on what God intended. Even today he challenges everyone to respond.
  2. A New Law: Jesus’ teaching seems so counter-cultural, no less today than in his own time. How can he be so bold and ask for so much, since we still labor under the same sin, imperfection and hardness of heart as the people of Moses’ time and his time? The key is that Jesus does not simply add new laws; he brings the grace to be able to live as God intended “from the beginning,” that is, before sin entered the world. Christ can ask more of us because he himself brings the grace for us to live our lives before God in a new way. By grace we are made “new men (and women) in Christ” and transformed into children of God who are empowered to live in holiness and the full truth.
  3. Never Give Up: The disciples seem to be discouraged at first, because the new teaching of Jesus is difficult to live: “then it is better not to marry.” They are seeing things through their own narrow experience and through the lens of popular opinion. Yet they must make the transforming encounter with the grace of Christ. We, too, need to believe in that grace and to communicate it to others, since it enables us to love others “as he loved us.” It is what brings the vitality and freshness to our Christian lives and makes us able to offer something new and hopeful to the world around us.

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, give me the faith and confidence to believe with all my heart that your grace is enough for me. Teach me to believe that your commands are always supported by your grace and that I can live as a new man in you.

Resolution: I will ask for an unbreakable hope in the power of God’s grace acting in me.


 

August 15, 2020 – Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

God Lifts Up the Lowly

 

Father Steven Reilly, LC

Luke 1: 39-56

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in your wondrous, shining glory, although this is hidden from my eyes. I hope in the peace and everlasting joy of the world to come, for this world is a valley of tears. I love you, even though I am not always able to discern the love in your intentions when you permit me to suffer. You are my God and my all.

Petition: Lord, help me to be humble!

  1. All Generations Will Call Me Blessed: When Pius XII defined the dogma of the Assumption, it was a cause of great joy throughout the Catholic world. Believed for centuries, it entered the realm of official Catholic dogma. Our Lady is brought to heaven to share in the glory and joy of her Son and our Lord. We have always looked to Mary as our mother, and so the feast of the Assumption continues to fill us with happiness. She is with Christ, and she is our mother more than ever. We entrust ourselves to her in the same way that Pope Saint John Paul the Great did, “Totus Tuus.”
  2. Scattering the Proud: Proud people are generally very focused on whatever serves their best interests. So “scattering” is a very good verb to use to indicate what happens to the proud when God goes into action. Mary rejoices in that “scattering”, but who are the proud? Maybe we don’t have to look any further than ourselves. How much we fight with that root sin of pride! Mary is happy when pride gets scattered and the perspective we have widens. Instead of just seeing things from our own myopic point of view, this scattering opens the “thoughts of our hearts” to see others and their needs. Nothing is more Mary-like than that.
  3. Lifting Up the Lowly: This feast of the Assumption is proof that God literally lifts up the lowly. Like her Son and his Ascension, Mary is lifted up by God into the realm of eternal life. Sometimes we cling to our pride out of a sort of instinct of self-preservation: “If I don’t look out for number one, who will?” But Mary’s humility is a lesson for us. Our true self-fulfillment lies in becoming everyday more filled with God; we can only do that if we are not filled with ourselves. Let’s ask Mary to help us to live more like her and experience the true joy—the lifting up—that there is in humility.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I thank you for giving us such a wonderful mother. She helps me to stay on the path of fulfilling your will. Help me to be able to sing a Magnificat in my own soul, “The Almighty has done great things for me!”

Resolution: I will be generous and joyful when I am asked to help.


August 16, 2020  – Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ask and You Shall Receive

 

Matthew 15:21-28

Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

Introductory Prayer: I believe in you, my God. You called me into existence from nothingness and carefully watch over me. You have even numbered the hairs of my head. I trust in your infinite goodness, and I abandon into your loving hands my fears, my hopes, my needs, my desires, everything. I love you, Lord, and I wish to love you with all my mind, heart, soul and strength.

Petition: Lord, grant that these moments of conversation will build my trust in you.

  1. Bold Prayer: We are often timid and bashful in asking others for what we need when we assume that we will be “putting them out” with our request. We put ourselves in their place and think, “I don’t want to be a bother to them.” But Christ wants us to be bold in prayer. ! What does it “cost” God to grant us his grace? More than what he has already freely given us — his Son? To think that we are “bothering” God when we ask him for things is to pray to a distant and unfamiliar God. Did not Christ guarantee us that if we asked the Father (“Abba”, “Daddy”) for anything in his name, it would be granted? The Canaanite woman’s loud pleas were not bothering Christ in the least. How different Christ’s reactions are to ours, which are so often like those of his disciples!
  2. Prayer Unanswered? It is difficult to humble ourselves and admit that we need help, that we can’t completely take care of ourselves. Our pride and human respect often keep us from asking for what we need. The Canaanite woman didn’t seem to mind: she presented herself before Christ and others as a beggar. Now the Gospel text records, “But he did not answer her at all.” One might think Christ responded to her act of humility with a rather cold, even degrading reception. Was Christ being insensitive? Of course not! He knew how strong this woman’s faith was, and he put it to the test precisely so that others throughout the centuries could marvel at her simple faith. There are often many hidden reasons why Christ doesn’t readily answer our prayers. Let us return to Christ humbly, with faith and hope, when we feel slighted or ignored by him.
  3. Efficacious Prayer: An efficacious prayer is a humble prayer. We are super-sensitive when we are hurt. This Canaanite woman was already very hurt by the condition of her daughter and the scolding of the disciples. Had she not had such simple faith and hope, Christ’s words to her could have been enough to send her “over the top.” When we are hurt, we easily jump to conclusions and become offended. Once our pride is injured, we are often blind to the good someone wishes us or performs for us. How many souls have spent long years away from Christ because they have clung to past hurts and been blinded to God’s often mysterious pedagogy?

Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus, too often I have given up on prayer without really trying, convinced that you don’t listen to me. I am sorry for judging you. Help me persevere in asking you for the good things I need. Help me overcome any shame or human respect, so that I can increase my faith, hope and love for you.

Resolution: I will meditate on an “unanswered” prayer in my life, trying to understand how Christ could have answered it in an unexpected, yet superior way.

Share