Thursday, the Ninth Day of Lent
Today's Gospel beings with the line
Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you wil find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
I don't know about you, but I find these words to be extraordinarily irritating.
It is my custom to try to be a good guest. I don't like putting my host out of his or her way, so I'm not overly picky when offered a drink, a dinner choice, or the selection of a movie. Even when I have strong tastes or desires, I find myself often saying, "I'm totally indifferent - I'll eat/drink/watch anything." Why am I so reluctant? Is it because I'm ashamed of my desires? Is it because I don't want to impose, even though my host clearly is clearly extending hospitality? Is it because I'm failing to trust the graciousness of the one who has invited me?
I'm irritated by today's Gospel because it challenges me to be more forthright in prayer. How often do I pray for silly things, safe things, rather than telling the Lord what I really want? Is it because I'm afraid that, if I'm really open and transparent with my desires and my prayers aren't answered, that I'll be angry or disappointed? Is it because I don't trust enough in God's grace that I cling to my own little wants and desires and resist offering them up in prayer?
Perhaps today I can take a few minutes to really pray, to really be up-front with what it is that I want. This is the great risk of prayer: when I offer what I really and truly want, when I honestly present my heart's desires, I risk the possibility of rejection. My sinful side clamors, "Keep it in! Keep it in! Better silent and not disappointed!!" while my heart encourages, "Pray, you idiot, and perhaps what you think you want is far less than what you truly desire." This day, may it be my goal to pray my desire, to knock at the door and to make known what it is that I yearn for. While I may not get exactly what I think I want, I shall be confident that even if I don't get what I want, I can take comfort in knowing that God, the Host of Heaven, is extending to me more than I could ever even imagine: himself and his friendship.