Sunday, September 23, 2012
God, Bless My Enemies
That’s a tough prayer to say, but I think it should be prayed. If nothing else, it should be prayed out of the recognition that our enemies, like us, are here for a reason: even they can be part of God’s plan --- even part of His plan for me. Conversion, growth, does not come without pains.
When we have pain and suffering, we cannot but notice it: it hurts. And therefore so often our focus and prayers are that the pain might be alleviated --- and that’s not a bad thing, but WHY do we act and pray like that? Do we pray as a reaction, an impulse to ease our pain, or with thought? If impulse alone, we act and pray to alleviate our sufferings for our sake --- alone. But perhaps there might be a better reason.
If our suffering were less, would our marriage be better? Would we better focus on our children, giving them the love that they deserve? Would we better be able to find and love God, and provide help for our eternal, not just our earthly, life? Would we, in our sufferings, be less a trial to our neighbor, and his sufferings?
You ask but you to not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:3
Perhaps if we prayed not only to help ourselves but to help others, not to end our sufferings and free us from ALL pain, but to end it “enough,” God might answer our prayers. I wrote last time about the Prodigal Son and the son who was seeking God’s gifts --- seeking gifts!! --- in the wrong way. He wanted gifts but only the ones and in the ways HE planned. Selfish children seek gifts that way.
Perhaps our prayer would be better if it were said thusly:
Lord, give me strength to do Your will for me. Give me enough focus, free from pain, to see the needs of my loved ones and neighbors, that I might be Your love to them. Free me from focus on myself and my pains, that I might focus on You, and Yours.
You have granted me many blessings, Lord. Let me take the blessings You have given me and share them with others, even the irritating whiney neighbor, or the crying baby. Let me face my enemies and pains with love, forbearance, and trust in You. Lord, save my enemies and my pains, and use them.
In my Catholic faith, You commanded me to love my neighbor as myself, but it takes no great faith to see that this is necessary. We can accomplish nothing in this world alone; we cannot bring ourselves freedom from pain or sadness, not alone. For our neighbor is here, too. Let me see and understand this, and end my love for myself alone.
Jesus Christ, I believe You chose death on a cross for me out of love. And with Your death You created a covenant between God and man, a covenant --- making us a family. Help me to bear those sufferings I should, for our family, and for You. Not my will, but Thy will be done. I’ve tried fixing my problems and trusting in myself alone, and at the end of my efforts all I found was myself, alone.
Lord, I will trust in You, and I will not be anxious. Free me from my pains and sufferings not for my sake, but for Yours, that I might be all You made me to be.