Text: My column from our parish bulletin
Dear Believers in Jesus Christ,
Today’s gospel (Luke 18:1-8) is about patient persistence. A widow keeps approaching a judge for justice. She does not give up even when she is tuckered out. The judge finally gives in because the widow wears him down.
This text and the widow’s persistence can be compared to our own prayer life. We often become tired of praying for peace or coming to God about our grandchildren. We become exhausted struggling to make ends meet or praying our loved one survives a surgery or gets a new job. Prayer is exhausting. So many times our prayers are not answered the way we think they should be and we give up. Sometimes we unfold our hands and throw up our fists to God is shear frustration.
We cannot give up in our relationship with God, even though we may become tuckered out and exhausted by what life throws at us. Although our prayers may not be answered the way we want, we must remain consistent in our search and diligent in our prayers. We pray so that we can remain in the person of Jesus Christ. The more we pray without clinging to results, the closer we become to the heart of Jesus. Our persistence in prayer forms our lives. We finally, then, let go of our expectations about how we think life should be for ourselves and our fellow human beings.
Life is really tough. Life is no less tough in the Church. Yet, our individual and common prayer becomes a life formation tool. This tool carves a unique place within our hearts – a place of compassion, mercy and forgiveness. We cannot live the Christian life without praying every day. We cannot be formed by only greed, self-righteousness, anger, control or the desire to always be right. When we pray, we are then formed by the graces God provides for us, the graces that soften our hearts. These graces form our hearts into becoming a more loving and forgiving people.
One of the ways in which we can respect all life is to pray. In the gospel, the judge finally gave up his self-protecting behavior and granted the woman her justice. The widow was without power in her society. Even though we may not have the place in the Church or in our family that we think we should have, God listens to us. God listens to our pleas and creates hope within our exhaustion.