Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter – Jn 16:23b-28
In today’s Gospel Jesus gives His Apostles a very dense and very concise discourse on prayer. In fact, Saint Thomas Aquinas says that Christ lays down no fewer than seven conditions for good prayer. However, we can consider just two of them, and examine if we put them to use in our lives. Our prayer must be filial, and we must persevere in it, meaning, we must keep going.
First, our prayer needs to be filial, meaning, “it should arise from an affection like that of a child for its parents, as [Jesus] says, the Father [He calls God Father six times here!]. One who asks out of fear does not ask a father, but a master or an enemy: ‘If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!’ (Mt 7:11).” God is a loving Father, who wants to give us what we need. As another author writes: “Here Jesus is saying: ‘You can go to God, because He loves you.’ Jesus didn’t die to change God into love; He died to tell us that God is love. He came, not because God so hated the world, but because He so loved the world.” We can ask ourselves: do we approach Him with an attitude of loving, childlikeness before God?
Second, we need to persevere in prayer: “as to this Jesus says, ‘Ask and you will receive.’” It’s that simple: ask, and it will be given, but you have to keep asking, remaining firm in the faith. “Ask with perseverance, bearing in mind the words in Luke’s Gospel, ‘They ought always to pray and not lose heart,’ and Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians: ‘Pray constantly’ (5:17).” “[We shouldn’t] stop praying if we don’t immediately receive; it will be given to us even if it is postponed till a better time, so as to increase our desire, as we read in the Psalm: ‘You give them their food in due season’ (145:15).” It’s been said that God only gives one of three answers to prayer: Yes, Yes, but not yet, or, I have something better in mind. There is no such thing as an unanswered prayer. We can ask ourselves: do we continue in our prayers, even when it seems like God delays in answering?
Let us pray, in a particular way through the intercession of Mary, Model of Prayer, for the grace to live lives of prayer that are filial and persevering.