June 21, 2012 - Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, religious

Sirach 48:1-14
Psalm 97:1-7
Matthew 6:7-15

The reason we pray is not to change God but to change ourselves. We cannot change God, not in any way. We cannot change his mind. If he has determined to do something, he will do it no matter what we say. Could we convince him otherwise? We are not smarter than him. We would not want to if we could. We do not know better than he does. He knows what we need before we ask him. So the point of prayer is not to change God but to change ourselves. We are the ones who do not know what we need. Prayer is not about telling God what to do. It is in prayer that we discover what God wants to do for us.

So long as we are in ignorance of our own deepest desires, prayer can seem useless. We ask God for things, but he does not give them. But what if he did give us what we asked for? What would happen then? I do not know. Only God knows. And he loves us. So I can only presume that he knows what he is doing and that what he is doing is for my good. I do not have to understand why God does what he does. I trust him; I trust him completely.

The first petition of the prayer Jesus teaches us today is “thy kingdom come” which is asking God to take charge of the world, of my world, of my life. I do not want to rule myself. I would not vote for myself as president of my own life. I want God to be my king. I want his will to be done on earth, where I am, just like it is in heaven right now. If God is ruling over my life, what could I possibly be afraid of?

I do know what I need above all else. I do know what God’s will for me is first and foremost. “Hallowed be they name.” All sin makes us think that we are the center of the universe and this makes us sad. Prayer teaches us that God is the center of the universe. Once we know that, we can relax and be happy. We can trust God. Let him be in control. He knows what he is doing, and he loves us. The universe is a beautiful place when God is in charge.