Friday, October 10, 2014



There's this latino kid in one of my New Testament classes who is giving me some really good example. His very thick Spanish accent reveals his fairly recent arrival in the U.S., and he often struggles to find the right word in conversation. But he finds a way to do his written assignments and to get high B's on tests, often outshining half of is English-speaking classmates. I had him this summer for a course called "The Wisdom of St. Benedict;" he got so enthused about writing one journal entry that he wrote it in Spanish and then told Google to put it into English for him. It worked, too. He's always looking for ways to work more effectively, and is eager to follow any suggestions I offer him.

I say he's giving me good example because when I compare his enthusiasm and dedication to my own efforts at private prayer I start to blush for shame. If I had the same determined and persistent attitude toward prayer as he has toward his studies ... Phew! I can't even imagine what that would be like!


This past Wednesday the gospel at mass had Jesus' disciples coming to him asking him to teach them to pray. He then teaches them the Our Father. On Thursday Luke picks up right where he left off, (Lk 11:5-13) at the end of the Lord's Prayer:

"If one of you knows someone who comes to you in the middle of the night and says to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has come in from a journey and I have nothing to offer him;' and he from inside should reply, 'Leave me alone. The door is shut now and my children and I are in bed. I can't get up to look after your needs.' -- I tell you, even though he does not get up and take care of him because of friendship, he will find himself doing so because of his persistence, and give him as much as he needs.
"So I say to you, ask and you will receive...." 

This fellow who disturbs his neighbor knows how to ask: he just will not take "No" for an answer; he persists in his request until he gets what he wants. Eight chapters later Jesus recommends the same tactics when they're adopted by a widow who has to deal with a wicked judge (Lk 18:1-8).

Jesus recommends this man's tactics to us in our prayer -- Don't take "No" for an answer, keep asking. We have to become pests, we have to nag God. I'm not making this up -- it's right there in Luke's gospel!


These two guys, one very real and the other a character in a parable, are models we can all hope to imitate when we're praying.

Jesus has told us, hasn't he, "When you pray, pray like them."

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