I am currently conducting a study of the Book of Genesis via the Douay – Rheims Holy Bible with commentary notes by Rev George Leo Haydock. I enjoy reading this particular version of the Catholic Bible since it includes commentary by the ancient fathers of our church.
During this study, three themes (among many) have come forth that have caused me to reflect deeper about my spiritual life and I wish to share them with you in the hope that you too may find a morsel of Truth. Here are what I call My Three What Ifs……
What if…we simply prayed with meaning in our souls?
I find it fascinating that many times I have had conversations with friends, acquaintances, relatives, and even strangers who tell me, “I prayed so hard, for a very long time and still my prayers weren’t answered! ”
I always ask them what they were praying for and inevitably most of the time they start with, “I asked for…” and go on to tell me what they were asking for. The approach is similar to going to a department store and asking a clerk what you need in the hope that the clerk can locate it for you. In this circumstance it presupposes that the clerk is there to serve you and to ensure that your needs are satisfied or met.
In reality, when we pray it is the complete opposite. We approach the Lord our God with great humility. We acknowledge to the Lord that we know not how to address the issue at hand and ask for His guidance and help. We leave it up to the Lord to determine how He would like to address our concern. We show a complete vulnerability to the Lord for through our vulnerability we open ourselves up to His graces.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God. But when we pray do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or ‘out of the depths of a humble and contrite heart? ‘ He who humble himself will be exalted; humility is the foundation of prayer…Man is a beggar before God.” (2559)
Prayer is really a centering and a focus on God Himself. It establishes a line of communication. It is through this two way communication that the Lord guides and moves us allowing through prayer to take hold of us and providing us with a greater understanding of the will of the Lord our God. Understanding the will of our Lord our God is in essence the answer to our prayer, for understanding His will we are better equipped to address the issue at hand.
What if…all sinners asked for forgiveness AND we all forgave those who did us wrong?
What a powerful combination of divinely inspired humanity. In life many will be wronged. Some will face hurt and some will face tragedy. This hurt and the ramifications of tragedy may linger on with us for a great deal of time and in some cases it may go on for a lifetime. The true tragedy is in the fact that we allow the hurt to linger and cause us further physical and spiritual damage.
If a sinner humbles himself and genuinely asks for forgiveness, what a beautiful ‘Act of Contrition’ in the presence of the Lord and the grieved. Is this act of asking for forgiveness not an acknowledgement of one’s willingness to be part of the Lord’s family – to do what is right and just? Despite the healing it will provide for your hurt, in the bigger scheme does this not bring the lost sheep back into the fold? Does it not strengthen the Church and ultimately our family and more specifically ourselves?
What if…we all provided for the poor in some way?
Mother Teresa once said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” What a humble yet powerful statement. Humble in the sense that she recognizes that one single person cannot solve all of the problems of the world: thus our reliance on God’s good graces; powerful in that she acknowledges that each and every one of us can play a part in doing God’s work here on earth. She holds us accountable to help our fellow man.
This sense of accountability comes from the fact that the Lord our God has created us in His image. Each and every life is important because of that fact. If each and every person were to help those in need around them, eventually, in your time of need you too would be helped as a person created in the likeness of God. Selfishness is the destroyer of this perpetual circle of help and caring.
Though I have shared my three What If’s I want to leave you with one that I have just started to meditate on but at this point cannot offer any further commentary: What if…God simply ignored us?
Copyright © 2013, Luciano Corbo