Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Quickness of God's Response

In the few weeks that I’ve been here at Our Lady of Mercy parish, I cannot even begin to count the number of times I have heard people speak about the Divine Mercy novena done here during Lent. And I cannot help but recall the Divine Mercy prayer card that I myself have prayed hundreds of times over the course of the past six years. Some of you may be familiar with it – it begins with the invocation “Dear Lord Jesus, I need You.” As I pray that prayer, I am often struck by the middle of it, which says:

"I am sorry for all my sins. Please forgive me. I forgive anyone who has ever offended me. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. I turn over my whole, every detail of my life to You. Take control of my life. Help me to be the kind of person You want me to be. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life."

Each sentence is loaded with things to reflect on, but what strikes me is willingness of the Lord to reach out to us. In one breath we ask for forgiveness and in the next breath give thanks for receiving it. The only thing in the middle is our response to Him, and then only briefly. We can see a similar thing with the Our Father, particularly in the celebration of the Mass.

As we all stand to recite the Lord’s prayer, we recognize the fact that each of the petitions that we ask for in the Lord’s prayer are given to us without even much of a wait – we need only respond to and accept the Father’s gift. Just minutes after we pray to receive our ‘daily bread’, we receive into ourselves the Bread of Life, the Body of Christ. We ask for forgiveness and our venial sins are cleansed by the power of the Eucharist. We seek protection from evil and are strengthened by His grace. I think that we receive these gifts so quickly because God desires so much us to receive them. The words barely pass our lips before the Father responds to us. How amazing it is to be loved by a God who anxiously awaits our prayers, that he might fulfill our deepest needs and desires.