The Perfect Prayer
It is a strange fact that although Christ repeatedly promised to answer our prayers, most Christians are continually complaining that He does not do so. His promise — All things whatsoever you shall ask. Seek first the kingdom of God and his justice and all these things shall be given to you.
It is a way that will oblige God to listen to you. Say to him earnestly:
- Either give me enough wealth that my heart will be satisfied or inspire me with such contempt for it that I no longer want it.
- Either free me from poverty or the grace to see my blessings so that I would not exchange it for all the wealth in the world.
- Either take away my suffering or — which would be to your greater glory — change it into a delight for me by offing it up to you or Lord.
- You can take away the burden of my cross or you can leave it with me without my feeling its weight.
- You can extinguish the fire that burns me or you can let it burn in such a way that it refreshes me as it did the three youths in the fiery furnace.
What does it matter in what way I am happy? If I am happy through the possession of worldly goods, it is you I have to thank. If I am happy when deprived of them, it gives you greater glory and my thanks are all the greater.
This is the kind of prayer worthy of being offered to God by a true Christian.
When you pray in this way, do you know what the effect of your prayers will be?
- First, you will be satisfied whatever happens; and what else do those who most desire this world’s goods want except to be satisfied?
- Secondly, you will not only obtain without fail one of the two things you have asked for but, as a rule, you will obtain both of them.
God will give you the enjoyment of wealth and so that you may possess it without the danger of becoming attached to it, He will inspire you at the same time with contempt for it. He will put an end to your sufferings and even more He will leave you with a desire for them which will give you all the merits of patience without having to suffer. In a word He will make you happy here and now, and lest your happiness should do you harm, He will let you know and feel the emptiness of it.
But if such a great blessing is well worth being asked for, remember that still more is it worth being asked for with insistence.
For the reason why we obtain little is not only because we ask for little but still more because, whether we ask a little or we ask a lot, we do not ask often enough.
St. Claude de la Colombiere