• Sarah Raad



The Creation of Adam (Michelangelo)

Today I was praying for so many different intentions, one after the other, that my mind seemed consumed with thoughts and prayers.

I remembered those who grieve for their loved ones gone before them. I remembered the sick and suffering in a world gone mad affected by a global pandemic. I remembered the Lost Souls of Purgatory – how they need our prayers! I prayed for my family and friends and – of course – I prayed for all of you who pray with me!

It seems to me that my humble and feeble human brain should be terribly overwhelmed by the burden of acknowledging the sheer magnitude of needs that I present to God. And even if – by some miracle – I could handle the immensity of those prayers of petition without becoming overwhelmed, what about my prayers of thanksgiving and those of love? How could I manage those as well?

And yet, through Grace – the wonderful magnanimous gift of Grace – I am not overwhelmed at all. Instead, I am uplifted through those prayers.

My prayers are not mere words, though the rhythm and comfort of a familiar prayer gives great solace – the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, a simple Our Father, or Hail Mary, or Glory Be, rhythmic, comforting and profound.

Rather, my prayers pour forth from all of me. They are not only my words, but my thoughts and deeds too…

As I cook dinner I pray in my mind – “God help me to finish this on time please, I am going to be late.” As I wait for my children my thoughts turn – “God, please let them be on time today, I do not want to be late for work.” As I listen to a student explaining to me the problem of their day – “Please God look after them, help them to see You in all things.”

As I try to be patient with my children as they dawdle while I run, I offer an extra breath and a patient tone for love of God – which I express through love of them – and humbly, with my deeds, through Grace and no merit of my own, I give Him glory.

But these prayers are really the selfish petitions of a toddler. “Give me. Give me. Give me.” Like a chick in the nest, I chirp and squeak and squawk.

They in no way reflect the essence of God. My meaningless prayers show how futile is the attempt of a human to seek the Divine. What am I doing asking God for these little things when He – CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE – knows all, sees all and controls all?

Surely, a better way to pray would be to cast myself on His infinite Mercy and beg Him for the Grace to simply live according to His will so as to please Him and only Him?

That requires self-denial.

That makes sense to me. There is great self-denial in love. In fact, it is self-denial that underpins our very understanding of the essence of love!

It is love that is at the heart of us – because being made in God’s image, we were made for love by God who had no need of us, who only wants to LOVE us!

The problem is that we – being clouded by the perils of sin, especially Original Sin – have no understanding of what love actually is!

We see love and romance and fairy tales and excitement and adventure as synonymous. We see love as a heart that flutters in excitement at the presence of the one we love.

But though that infatuation is wonderful and often leads into love, that excitement is NOT love.

Love is sacrifice and self-denial.

Love is commitment – a husband to a wife, a mother to her child, a brother to his sister, a friend to a friend.

If LOVE is a NOUN, its VERB would be COMMITMENT – because COMMITMENT is the ACTION of LOVE.

Commitment is Our Blessed Mother’s desire to please God despite all the human obstacles and judgements that she faced – an unmarried mother, no room at the inn, the mother of an executed criminal.

Commitment is Christ dying on the Cross for us when He had the power to avoid it altogether.

The problem is that we think we are committed to God if we believe in His existence. How silly we are! I read somewhere the other day – and it is true – that even the Evil One believes in the existence of God. Our simple BELIEF in God is no measure of the action of love we have for Him because belief is NOT commitment!

Commitment is not only recognising the existence of God – it is changing our lives to reflect His existence by giving HOMAGE to Him.

Because commitment is love. True love. And God deserves no less than that from us!

For with prayer everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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