My priest gave a homily for me yesterday. I think it was very nice of him to take the time to write just for me. He does that a lot, because he’s a really nice guy.
Here was the gist in one shot: Are you wanting food, so asking Jesus for it, or are you going to Jesus who feeds you what you really need? (Yesterday was the Gospel about the people following Jesus after He fed the crowds.)
He said it better than I, “Are you going to God for consolation, or are you going to the God of consolation?”
I am so guilty of this. Every single time I need something I’m like, “Lord, you love me right? I mean I trust you and stuff, but would some cash really be that big a deal? My bills are killing me. I sure would like it if you took away my love of Cherry Pepsi too Lord, I’m getting fat. While you are at it, could you please please please help that one coworker realize how awesome I am? It would be really nice Lord, really. Then I could be happy and content to live with my cats forever”
I swear, this is like half of my prayer life. Rosary, Divine Office, and incessant begging for stuff. Even I get tired of listening too it. Praise God for his patience.
I know better, but it doesn’t always help. I know that all this stuff is small potatoes and that what God wants for me is a heavenly feast, but I really want my small potatoes to taste better, they need more butter and some chives would be nice too.
So lets play this out for a second. God has given me a loving family, a beautiful wife, people to love, people who challenge me to be better than I am, a warm home, a healthy body, the sun and the moon, light rain falling on the fields, an intellect that can imagine and dream…
and I’m upset because he didn’t give me a new pair of shoes.
I’m a jerk.
I bet you can be a jerk sometimes too. We are all jerks. How are we going to get out of this?
I am always told I need to count my blessings. I think that skips a very important step, the most important step.
Realize what IS important, and focus on that.
What is important? Jesus, and our knowledge of Him, and our relationship to Him. Heaven, that’s a big deal too. I want to go there. Loving people, that’s a really big deal. Faith, Hope and Love, that’s the big stuff.
50% of our prayers, (85% if you are a jerk like me) are about other stuff, cheap stuff, stuff that means nothing, like a shiny toy you got at Christmas and got tired of within 20 minutes. We stress over this stuff like crazy too. We have to let go of all this, Jesus told us to look to the birds and the flowers and how God provides for them, but we are just blind to it.
It’s like we are in a fishbowl at the bottom of the ocean and we get so frustrated that our bowl isn’t the way we like it, the gravel is the wrong color, and the bowl is dirty, and I wish my pretend castle was bigger, when all I have to do is swim out of the bowl to realize just how grand it all really is.
So, realize what’s important and what’s not, then count you blessings. You can’t really see your blessings until you know what’s important.
Grow in Faith, Hope and Love –> You can see God’s gifts of abundance.
Look for your own idea of abundance –> live in your own kind of poverty.
I call this viewing God as a “cosmic slot machine.”
In other words, if I keep praying hard enough, if I pump in enough prayers, eventually I’ll get a payout, I’ll get the answer to my prayers that I want.
I had this conversation with an acquaintance, who was trying to adopt her foster son, but who kept running into roadblocks.
“I’m always praying,” she said. “I’m asking God to let me adopt him. Why isn’t it working?”
“What if his biological mother is praying even harder for him to come home to her. Who should get to keep him then?”
I’m still waiting for the response to that question.
“The Cosmic Slot Machine”! I love that, I think prayer is often viewed just that way. It is much harder for us to pray prayers of trust.