Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Several nights in a row, my little one has corrected my prayers. Of course I know better and I ignored it… accept that the admonition and intensity in her voice only grew. She was stern with me and very serious, as if I should know better. And what could my 9 year old possibly be correcting me on?
With all of the chaos that is ensuing, it has been particularly hard for me to hear. This combined with my long work hours has made the weariness of life exhausting. I relish in my morning time with God, untouched and silent, but as the day starts so also starts the new normal, what I call the three C’s- conference calls, confusion and chaos.
So when I am done with my long day, anything I have leftover quickly turns into deafness. I heard what she said, but didn’t really hear her. She has repeated the same thing to me every night since she has been home. I start to pray with her, as is my usual bedtime routine with all of my children, and she stops me. Then she says this, “Mommy you have to thank God, You are not thanking Him enough.”
The first couple of nights I was resistant. I kept praying, asking God’s intercession for people who are sick, the dying and for the whole world. Sometimes I would thank God but half-heartedly, not in the way that my little one implored me.
After several days of this, I finally took her advice to heart. I thanked God for so many things. For my family, for my job, for my law enforcement brothers and sisters and for healthcare workers. My soul experienced a great rise, so I kept going. As the Holy Spirit took over, the list of thanks blossomed.
My mourning had turned into dancing!
I could see her smiling.
Good job mommy, that’s how you pray! Then you can ask God for things.
As I opened the readings for today, none really stood out to me. But in the middle of a meditation, I found my gem.
“Our natural tendency is to praise God only when things are going well. But scripture tells us, Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you… After praising God, the other forms of prayer – reading God’s word, interceding for others, or praying for my own needs-flow more from the leading of the Holy Spirit and less from my own limited human ideas. I’m able to pray with a heart more attuned to God’s will and his wonderful purposes.”
Mary Healy, from today’s Magnificat Meditation
My little one had digested a scripture that she probably was not even consciously aware of. But truth shines forth like the noonday sun, and this was no exception. The admonition from the little one was life changing.
As we enter these uncertain times, we must turn to God alone who is the only source of life. Jesus says it in today’s gospel,
But you do not want to come to me to have life. John 5:40
And it’s true. We run around frantically holding onto the news of the day, the latest social media update or the last phone call we received. While these things are a part of life, they are not the source of peace. We must continue turning our faces toward our loving God, time and time again, and learn how to pray well. To rejoice that we know Him, to never stop praying, and to first give Him thanks for everything.