Tag Archives: Our Father

The Ask

“The Ask” is a fundraising term meaning the moment when the fundraiser, gauging that the donor is sufficiently convinced in the efficacy and need of the cause that the donor is ready to actually make a financial commitment, makes the actual request for the person to make a contribution.

When “the ask” is of God, I find things seem complicated. On the one hand, Jesus assures us that the Donor will give: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. [1] [Mt 7:7-8] Again, He says all we need is faith: whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive. [Mt 21:22] According to Jesus, in dealing with God, it is always good if you’re not just being selfish, if this need is a communal need: Again, [amen,] I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.[Mt 18:19][2]

With a non-profit here on earth, any donor wants to be certain, (a) that the cause is truly worthy of support, (b) that the need is great; (c) this organization is legit and actually does something to address this need, and (d) that the money will be used wisely and well for the purpose for which the donation is made, and not to pay exorbitant salaries or just to elicit more funds.

God is the same way. He (a) loves us unconditionally, (b) knows we need Him because He created us; (c) wants to be certain that we truly trust Him, and (d) that we show we believe in Him, and love Him by our actions: we have confidence in God and receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. [1Jn 3:21-22] And what pleases Him is that we love Him and show that love by loving everybody else: whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me. [Mt 25:40]

When dealing with God, we have an “in” with the Donor; we go through the Donor’s Son. Jesus does “the ask” of the Father. “Jesus…[is] the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men, especially sinners. He is ‘able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.’ [Heb 7:25]”[3]

Our own fear and bumbling cause us to make inappropriate “asks.” You do not possess because you do not ask. You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. [James 4:2-3] However, the Divine Factotum, the Specialist in Everything, Love and Truth Himself, the Holy Spirit, not only teaches us what to say but even makes “the ask” for us when we are dumbstruck before the majesty of God, or fixated on the wrong thing, or can’t figure out what we really need: In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. [Rom 8:26]  And the Donor knows “the ask” is legit: The one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will. [Rom 8:27]

As the deluge of continuous mail from the same organization asking for money even when I have had no contact with it for years attests, persistence is the name of the Donor game. If one “ask” does not do it, keep at it and wear down the Donor’s resistance. Jesus illustrated this explicitly in one of my favorite parables, a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’” The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. [Lk 18:1-8]

By my persistence, I show God I’m serious, I am truly in need, His people for whom I am praying are in need, we all need His help, His grace, His mercy. Our cause is just and worthy of His assistance.

But, like Job, I am fearful of the LORD: I put my hand over my mouth. I have spoken once, I will not reply; twice, but I will do so no more. [Job 40:4-5] I know that I do not know for what I should ask: Therefore I disown what I have said, and repent in dust and ashes. [Job 42:6] I am as fearful coming before God as Esther was coming before the King, but I desperately need God’s help: My Lord, you alone are our King. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you, for I am taking my life in my handdeliver me from my fear. [Esther Gk Version C: 14-30]

But, though His sacred word, God assures us of his love: But You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in mercy and truth. [Ps 85:15, 103:8; 145:8; James 5:11] Therefore, we pray “Father, accept this offering from your whole family. Grant us your peace in this life, save us from final damnation, and count us among those you have chosen.” [4] and “we dare to say: Our Father….”[5]


[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner. Hereafter, NABRE.

[2] God’s answer to the prayer of two or three envisages a different situation from one that involves the entire congregation. In addition, the object of this prayer is expressed in most general terms as anything for which they are to pray….For where two or three…midst of them: the presence of Jesus guarantees the efficacy of the prayer. This saying is similar to one attributed to a rabbi executed in A.D. 135 at the time of the second Jewish revolt: “…When two sit and there are between them the words of the Torah, the divine presence (Shekinah) rests upon them” (Pirqê ’Abôt 3:3). NABRE Notes on Mt 18:19-20

[3] CCC 2634

[4] Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 88. CCC 1037

[5] CCC, Pt. 4; Sect. 2, Art.2, I.

A Decade a Day, Life Mary’s Way

In my Sept 3, 2014 blog here, “The Father And The Rosary,” I explained the rosary as an act of worship of the Father, each decade being an occurrence that begins with the Father’s will, is known and planned from all eternity, and, after examining it in detail for the length of ten Hail Mary’s, an appropriate vehicle since Mary is human, like us, and, like her, we need time to ponder these treasures in our heart, as they come to a close, we respond to God’s wisdom, power and love by joining with all creation in giving Him Glory, to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Today, I would like to go one step farther and propose that the decade of the rosary may be used as a template for my day. Each day in each of our lives is a day which has been filed from eternity in the providence of God and today is brought out into the light, unveiled for the first time to all creation. Thus, while it may seem to be a “normal” day to me, to the Father it is as sacred and holy as the first day of Creation, the day of the Annunciation, of the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Ascension and Pentecost. Blasphemy? Exaggeration? Spiritual hyperbole…and fantasy, at that?

But consider, this is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.[1] [Ps 118:24] There was never one like it and there never will be another. Some of his children will be born, some will die, some will get married, some will find God,…and all will be given another chance to listen to Him, to do His will, to refuse the apple and to walk in the Garden with Him. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. [2Pet 3:9] God wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. [1Tim 2:4] And today is a gift, another chance.

You protest? This is simply another day, an ordinary day? Well, neither are all the “mysteries” of the Rosary are momentous miracles, e.g. the finding in the Temple, the announcement of the kingdom, and, at least from the perspective of the human condition of Jesus [though such separation of the natures can be dicey] all of the Sorrowful Mysteries. But the Church looks at them as “mysteries.” Why? Because, though they may seem to be “normal” in human terms on the surface, since they involve the Son of God, Jesus, our Christ, there are infinite layers of substrata awaiting our spiritual archeological investigation, exploration and ultimately, adoration.

And the same is true of every day. It is a “hidden” miracle waiting to be revealed, explored, and its Creator, He who has gifted us with this infinitely precious prize, awaits our recognition, our love, our appreciation and our adoration. So looking at today as a “mystery” to unfold in God’s providence is our ultimate reality.

Unfortunately, because it’s a miracle that “hidden in plain sight,” we can allow ourselves to be blind to its beauty, its uniqueness, its overwhelming simplicity. Our nonchalant attitude is because we do not see in the blazing up of the sun, the transfiguration of the Son. We overlook, ignore, or even sometimes recognize but refuse to take into account the miracle of the morrow.

But today, let’s take it into account. Let’s start with the Our Father as our acknowledgement of His control of my life, of the obedience I owe him, of His total and unconditional love of me, of His eternal plans for my greatest happiness. And today, just today, let me hold His name holy, let me work for His Kingdom, let me do His will with the alacrity, joy and enthusiasm that the saints and angels do it in heaven…and, on His part, He will give me today not just daily but eternal Bread from heaven, He will forgive me my sins in the measure with which I measure, and still more will be given to me. [See Mk 4:24]. Just today, I beg Him not to lead me into the desert to be tempted, for I am weak and fickle and easily swayed. But in particular, I pray that He not have me confront Evil, for it rules the kingdoms of the earth until His Son’s second coming.

As we proceed with our day, just as we contemplated the mystery of the Rosary with the murmuring of Hail Marys in the background, so having an ongoing conversation with our heavenly mother is not only a prudent way to keep us heading towards the narrow gate, but is a radar to warn us against incoming temptations, whether of our own making or generated from the evil in God’s wonderful world around us.

Finally, from the perspective of the rosary decade as a template of life, each decade, whether it extend for a literal decade of years, of days, of hours, of minutes, is enclosed, encapsulated by the love and understanding of God who sets it out on its course, His ruah hovers over it intently [Gen 1:2; Jn 3:8] as it wends its way through our life, and brings it to a successful conclusion, for, as we know from the Cross, success in God’s terms may seem like total meaningless failure in human terms. For this reason, at the end of each day, God deserves all credit, honor, praise and glory be given to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning of all Creation, is at this very conclusion of this moment in time, and will continue to be forever and ever. Amen. Alleluia!!!

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.”

So why a Church?

So why the Church? This is actually a whole plethora of questions rolled into one. I’ll ask the Spirit to help me look at two: Why any Church? And why the Catholic Church?

Why any Church? First, I am not talking bricks and mortar. I am talking a faith community, it is the “we” in the “Our”; God is “Our” Father, not just my Father.

There is a difference between belief and faith. I recite in the creeds, “I believe”. What I believe is important, is gleaned from a faith community, perhaps many faith communities, plus my own reflections and thoughts, an amalgam of what I believe. But there is a transition from belief to faith. It’s the transition from “I believe” to “I believe,” the personalization, the identification, the commitment to, the living in accordance with the what, the belief. For the simple reason, faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. [1] [Heb 11:1] “Realization” is the making real to me; “evidence” is sometimes translated “conviction,” but either ultimately stem from videre, “to see,” not just to stand under [understand] and view, but to grok with the eyes of the heart, to peer into the essence of the reality and behold the face of God. Indeed, this is often my problem, I may believe, I may be able to mouth the words, but I haven’t made them my own, I haven’t covenanted with them, I haven’t recognized the God Life in them, I haven’t loved them, I haven’t lived them.

So why a Church? Because such lived belief, such faith, is in Jesus; from the incarnational point of view, it is not sought out there in the heavens or in the recesses of my mind, it is found in community, communion with the Jesus, with His Spirit, and through them with the Father. And not even Them out there, but in these, us least of His brothers and sisters, us whom Paul persecuted, us who gather by twos and threes and welcome Them in our midst. Because God has revealed to us that He is so intimately bound to each and every person through His Son and Spirit, I cannot hope to find Them in the Trinity’s infinite diversity and wisdom, mercy and love if I try to find Them in my sinful self alone. I need to find, to see, to experience Them in Their myriad and every fascinating manifestations in each person I meet and in each community I share. “Religion’s main and final goal is to reconnect us (re-ligio) to the Whole, to ourselves, and to one another—and thus heal us.” [R. Rohr]

Not that I do this well. I sometimes prefer to hole up in my own cubby of a world and pretend that the rest don’t exist, or at least don’t matter. It’s called self-idolization. I’m god and I believe in me and I’m in charge and everything and everybody else either better take note and fly right or get out of the way. Of course, such hubris has, as the Greeks observed, its inevitable fall, its crumbling tumble into reality. And for this I need the faith community more than ever, to bear with me when I build my Babels, to pick up the pieces and put my Humpty back together with mercy, love and forgiveness, and to welcome back the battered and scarred sheep with loving and open arms to again form our community of faith and trust in our loving God. Please forgive me, Lord, Jesus, Spirit, Father, and my sisters and brothers, I blew it again, but I’m back to try once more with Your help.

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

John 5:40 But you do not want to come to me to have life.[1]

Let’s be realistic.  Following Jesus is no walk in the park,…it is accepting the worst that the world has to give, taking it unto myself, and stumbling up the path, the Way, to Calvary, following Jesus.  It is the inevitable dying with, in and for Jesus, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.  It is completely letting go, riding the roller-coaster of life without holding on, trying to control it, but leaving our safety, our security, our lives, our very selves totally in the hands of the Father.

So, while Jesus was talking to the Pharisees, the Sadducees, as well as the local bystanders, the gawkers, the thrill-seekers who were there for the side-show, the “magic,” the miracles, the free bread, the entertainment, watching the game of one-upmanship by someone who always seemed to get the better of those “righteous” hypocrites, the Pharisees and Sadducees, who always looked down on everyone, he was and is also talking to me, right here, right now…no holds barred.  He sees right into my soul, my reluctant, timid, tepid soul, hanging back, never really fully committing myself, never really letting go of my “lifeline” to the world, which, if I ever took the time to really look at it, is the chain that binds me to my addictions, my obsessions, my cruelty, my evil negativity, my rejection, my solipsism, my self-centeredness, my idolatry of the crumbling, frail, feeble, aging façade I call my “precious,” my inflated ego who gets popped and has to be continually repaired, excused, hidden, exposed, refurbished…and which, when I really take a hard look at myself, I hate, despise, am disgusted by, am revolted by, and would discard, disavow, dismiss, even destroy that who aspect of me if I could.

The interesting, the wondrous, the amazing, the incredible thing about Jesus is….that He sees all of my junk, all my baggage, all my warts and blemishes, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, and He still loves me…He really, actually loves ME!

St. Paul puts it this way: What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?…For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Rom 8:35, 38-39]  He could have just as easily said addictions, obsessions, cruelty, evil, negativity, rejection, solipsism, self-centeredness, idolatry for Jesus was referring to me when he said:“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”[Mk 2:17; Mt 9:13; Lk 5:32; 1 Tim 1:12]

Jesus, I am so sick I don’t even recognize that I am sick.  I have become so use to my addictions, my obsessions, cruelty, evilness, negativity, rejections, solipsism, self-centeredness, self-idolatry that it is my modus operandi, my de rigueur, my self-installed life-coach which, instead of listening to You, Holy Spirit, and to my conscience, I am controlled by Pavlovian responses programmed to react to the world.  I am hooked up to “life-monitoring” machines alright…but they’re the wrong machines, dripping the drugs of my addiction, stimulating the I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want [Rom 7:19] response.

Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, I myself, with my mind, serve the law of God but, with my flesh, the law of sin. [Rom 7:24-25]

Fortunately, God the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, YOU ALL love me…Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us. Who will condemn? It is Christ [Jesus] who died, rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. [Rom 8:33-34]  Amen.  Alleluia!!!

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.