Monday, Fourth Week of Lent
In the first reading, we heard some beautiful words from the Prophet Isaiah about what God wants to give us: “There shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create; for I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight; I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people.” All of this, though, is freely given. It’s not something that we’re owed, or that God has to give us. No, He gives it to us because He loves us. As children of God, and even more as His priests and spouses, we can ask for things on special footing, but always remembering that it is God’s generosity that answers, and not any particular merit of ours.
Secondly, the petition is strangely distant. In the first request, the official asks Christ to heal his υἱός (hwee-os’), the more formal word for son. When Christ makes the remark about faith, the official attitude shifts and becomes more personal: he asks Christ to heal his παιδίον (paidion), the diminutive form of child, meaning, his little one.
The official who came to Jesus certainly had faith in Christ’s ability to heal his child; however, the official wanted the healing on his terms, and Jesus gives him the opportunity to perfect his faith. Even though our lives may be full of prayer, we often need to remind ourselves that God wants us to really ask Him for these things. In his first letter to Timothy (1 Tm 2:1) Saint Paul asks that “supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone.” That word for supplications, δέησις (deh’-ay-sis), is very strong, and means a “heart-felt petition, arising out of deep personal need (a sense of lack, want), a felt need that is personal and urgent.”
Prayer cannot be sincere in the abstract; we must deeply feel what it is we are asking for and feel the urgency with which we must ask it. We can ask ourselves: how much do we trust that God hears and answers our prayers? Is our prayer personal and sincere, and filled with a sense of urgency? When we pray for others, do we take on their needs as though they were our own?
Today, through the intercession of Mary, Model of Prayer, let us ask for the grace to truly pray with deep faith that God wants to give us what we need.
 HELPS Word-studies 2065: erótaó
 Cf. The Pulpit Commentary on this passage.
 HELPS Word-studies: 3813 paidíon
 HELPS Word-studies: 1162 déēsis