Great is Your Faith: Pray Confidently and Constantly.

J.M.J.

My good people,

I’m just going to say it: We need to trust God more. You, I, all of us: whether we pray constantly or never, most of us don’t trust in God enough.

How do you go into prayer if you want something?  Does it run along these lines, like mine often does? “…I ask for this, and I really want it, but it probably won’t be answered…I mean, I’ll ask anyway, but it’s probably not going to happen.”

Or when you think of dying, do you think that you’re pretty certainly going to wind up in Purgatory, and that God doesn’t really expect or want you to go straight to Heaven with no delay? Or when you pray for the conversion of a soul (say, a notorious politician…) do you retain that judgement in the back of your mind, no matter how ardent your prayer, that it “probably won’t happen”?

Let’s turn to Matthew 15, shall we?

Our Lord is stopped by a Canaanite woman, who begs Him to heal her daughter possessed by a demon (Mt. 15:22). Our Lord says no. The disciples even tell Him to make the woman leave. And yet, she continues, kneeling down and pleading. Still, He says no. And still she asks, and finally, commending her faith, Our Divine Lord heals her daughter, who is well from then on.

There’s a good deal we can take from this. First, there’s no lack of humility if you “bother” the Lord for something. If you want something, pray, and pray ardently for it. Should worse come to worst, your prayer simply isn’t answered. But there’s nothing wrong with asking repeatedly—or even incessantly—for the same thing, and you shouldn’t take a lack of answering on God’s part as an indication that your prayer is opposed to His will. Indeed, St. Paul urges us to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). If your prayer is not answered quickly, keep praying for it, even if you end up praying for ten years.

Of course, there is a caveat: you want to be sure that, in all circumstances, you’re open to the Divine Will. Weighed down by His agony in Gethsemane, Our Lord prays repeatedly that He might not suffer His Passion, and yet, despite His ardent prayer, He ends on the note of resolution to the Father: “Not My will, but Thine be done” (Luke 22:42). This must be the conclusion of all our prayers as well.

Now, there’s other things we can learn from the episode with the Canaanite woman as well. Primarily, we must be humble in the true sense of the word, which is to say, we need to have a healthy recognition of our place before the Supreme Being (basically, we need some sizable doses of piety and fear of the Lord).  God and we are incomparable. God doesn’t need us, despite His infinite love for us, and He doesn’t need to answer our prayers. He will, if we are in accord with His will, because He loves us, but we don’t even have the semblance of a right to answered prayers. Not only that, we’re especially undeserving of having our prayers answered because we constantly sin. We constantly turn away from God who loves us, and it would be entirely reasonable of Him not to answer any of our prayers. So be sure to bear in mind when you pray that it is entirely within God’s right not to answer you, whether you’re wondrously holy or horrendously sinful. The good Lord only answers prayers because of the greatness of His love, not because we somehow deserve what we’re asking for. Thus, the woman kneels down before Our Lord and pleads: a position of humility, piety, and reverence; an acknowledgement of lowliness before Him who wills, despite our constant failings, to hear and grant our prayers.

CanaaniteWoman_Drouais
“O woman, great is thy faith…”

When Our Lord finally grants her request, notice what He tells her: “O woman, great is thy faith…” (Mt. 17:28). Anything truly worth having will be worth pursuing, even in the face of adversity. I am convinced that part of the reason He let her beg and plead was so that she would demonstrate the extent of her faith; so that she would be tested. It was Our Lord’s way of saying, “How much do you really want this? How important is it, really? Will you give up on Me if I don’t give it to you now?” And as we know, the woman didn’t give up. She repeated her prayer, with confidence not only in the ability of Our Lord to answer her prayer, but in His will and desire to grant her request as well. But she had to play her part first, which included a great deal of prayer.

Our Lord says in John 14:14, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it”; in John 16:23-24, He strengthens this assurance still more: “Amen I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in My name, He will give it to you . . . ask and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.” Our Blessed Lord says anything asked in His name will be done. Not “might be done”, but will be done. Certainly, sometimes prayers aren’t answered, either because God has other plans or because the prayer is against the Divine Will, but it must be pointed out that Our Lord wouldn’t say something without there being a founded belief in its reliability.

“…it will be given to you…” 

How much do we believe this to be the case? Do you trust that God will give you what you ask, even if it takes years of asking for it? Or do you pray with the repeated idea in the back of your mind that it’s really a futile enterprise?

Don’t pray like that. Follow St. Paul and the Canaanite woman, praying constantly. And if you’re resigned to God’s will, whatever it might be, it’s wholly probably that Our Lord will say to you what He did to that distressed mother: Great is your faith. And all will be well from that hour.

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On Revelation – Part 1: Jesus is Our God, Unmistakably

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your eyes! I’m going to make at least two posts about the Book of Revelation (also called the Apocalypse of St. John), the first of which–this one here–will show that this book makes Christ God in no uncertain terms. The next post, Christ willing, will attempt to answer the question of “Who is the woman?”. Then the third, if there is one, will have to do with the Mass and other Catholic-isms shown in the book.

The vision St. John received is nothing short of amazing.

I’ll show that the Son, Jesus Christ, is the one, true God. Starting with chapter 1…

“‘I am Alpha and Omega,’ says the Lord God, Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8).

It is rather unclear whether the speaker here is Jesus or the Father. The argument to say that this is not referring to Jesus goes like this: “Just earlier, the statement of ‘Who is, and was, and is to come’ was applied to the Father specifically (verse 4), so this must refer to Him specifically, too”. But I say, look at the phrase “Who is to come”. We are told in the previous verse that Jesus will be seen “coming in the clouds”. Coincidence? I think not. Even if this is not referring to Christ, but to the Father, it is still certain evidence for Christ’s divinity. Why? Because Christ does directly call Himself “Alpha and Omega” later on in Rev. 22:13. Alpha and Omega = Lord God and Almighty according to verse 8, so if Christ, too, is the Alpha and Omega, then He, too, is “Lord God” and “Almighty”!

“Alpha & Omega” is a title due to Almighty God alone

Moving down a little farther, three striking things occur when John sees Jesus: 1) John describes Jesus as having a voice “like the sound of many waters” (1:15), 2) John “falls at His feet, as though dead” (1:17), and 3) Jesus calls Himself “the First and the Last” (also 1:17). Let’s look at each of these.

Jesus having a voice “like the sound of many waters” looks like a reference to Ezekiel 43:2: “I saw the glory of God coming from the east, and His voice like the sound of many waters”.

John “falling at His feet as though dead” was a reaction which probably arose from the belief that the one who looked upon God would die.

“First and Last” is synonymous with “Alpha and Omega”, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and also references Isaiah 44:6: “This is what the Lord says, Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and the last. Apart from Me there is no God”.

Pretty blatant, huh? Jesus is directly claiming to be the one God! Moving on…

The Lamb has things said of Him which can only be said of God.

In chapter 4, verse 11, those surrounding God’s throne say, “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive honor and glory and power“. Twice in chapter 5, a similar thing is said to or about the Lamb, i.e., Jesus. Firstly, in verse 9, the Lamb is told, “You are worthy, O Lord, to take the book and to open the seals thereof” and secondly, in verse 12, it is said that “The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and benediction“. The second statement is strikingly similar to what was said to the Father above. Coincidence? Again, I think not.

But wait! There’s more! Chapter 5, verse 13, says that “to Him that sits on the throne (the Father) and to the Lamb be benediction and honor and glory for ever and ever”! There is no way that Jesus could just be a man or an angel or some “subordinate deity” when He is the object of perpetual worship along with the Father. No way at all.

Twice in Revelation, Christ is called “the Lord of lords”, in chapter 19, verse 16, and chapter 17, verse 14. This is a reference to Deuteronomy 10:17: “For the Lord your God is the God of gods, and the Lord of lords”. For a third time, coincidence? I think not.

He is “over all things, God, blessed forever” (Rom. 9:5)
Despite what modern Arians want you to think, it is absolutely senseless to call Christ our Lord “a god”.

Arius clearly hadn’t read this stuff, I guess.

God bless,

Mike

God the Holy Spirit

I don’t know about you, but to me inserting the title of the Almighty before the Holy Spirit just looks odd. Sure, we’ve known from our earliest years, at least on an intellectual level, that the Holy Spirit is God, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity. But, for me, at least, and possibly for you as well, the reality never quite strikes as to what “the Holy Spirit is God” implies.

File:Holy Spirit as Dove (detail).jpg
No, the Lord and giver of life is not a dove. Shocking, huh?

I think we subconsciously, unintentionally, see this divine Person as a sort of “extra”, or a piece of information about God, but Who’s not the “real deal”. Now I suppose this is somewhat reasonable. After all, in the New Testament, He is not mentioned nearly as often as the Father or Son, and He really only says something once: “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2). Still again, He’s almost more presented as God’s action in creatures rather than God Himself.

So all in all, this leads to a subconscious and unfortunate misrepresentation of Him. He is God, whole and entire. He is a Person, not a force. As the Athanasian Creed says, He is “eternal, infinite, uncreated, almighty, He is Lord, and He is God”.

My dear friends, let us think about this and truly come to grasp what it means, so that we may have a better view of the God Who sanctifies us continually.

And may He, the Holy Spirit, bless you with every blessing.