11/25/2002 Series: How to Get What You Pray For Part 2 - PEACE
A friend of mine recently told me that she was praying for some way of repairing her marriage, which was falling apart. I could see the anguish and pain she was carrying, and I reminded her to also pray for peace. She replied, "Never mind that; if I could fix my marriage problem, I'd HAVE peace!"
I think she was overlooking a necessary and powerful component that must be built into our prayers. Our prayers are a call for help, a result of facing a challenge or difficulty that we cannot see a way out of. Of course, we are actually asking for something specific to happen, but the request itself is usually born of some type of a hurt, worry, fear, or other discomfort. In short, an absence of peace, a feeling of something "not being right" in our lives. You name it, life throws it at us: illness, financial problems, upheavals in the job market, relationship difficulties. All peace-busters.
But before you can even think about removing the burden that has wrapped itself around you, you had better be in top form mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. You're going to need all your resources to overcome the problems you face. Saying a novena and waiting for St. Jude to do his thing are not enough. You also need peace - the peace that will enable you to soothe your hurt, and bring some tranquility to your troubled mind. The same peace that will then allow you to rediscover the strength you need to take a clear look at your situation, and then make a plan of attack. The same peace that will help you start reorienting yourself toward whatever the result is you prayed for to happen. To start on the long road back.
Has someone ever come to you for advice with a terrible problem that was making them totally miserable and upset? What's the first thing you told them? Probably something like, "Now calm down, sit back, take a deep breath, and tell me what happened." You knew they were so INVOLVED in their problem, so wrapped up in it, that before you could even think of helping them, you wanted them to clear their mind and thoughts. And only then, when you felt they could listen and receive your help, could you offer it. But the first step was to comfort them and help them find a bit of peace - then you could work on concrete solutions. Similar to a mother holding and rocking a child who has skinned his knee; the initial emotional comforting is as important to the care and subsequent recovery as the bandage applied to the wound.
Here is another way to think about it: why do we even pray to God, St. Jude, and other Saints to begin with? Because we believe that they have the PERSPECTIVE to see us and our lives in the bigger picture of our lifelong journey with God. We know that God knows things about our origin, present situation, and ultimate destination that we could never see. We trust that by putting our faith in Him, His Great Plan will come to be revealed to us in accordance with His will. And, trust me, He will help! But God can only give you the tools you need to start making things happen and helping you cope if you're ready, willing and able to recognize them, seize them and start making things happen. And that can only happen if we have the peace of mind and spirit to think clearly, and to take a step back and out of our own selves.
So, pray your novena to St. Jude with all the openness you can bring forth. Lay your request and need right in the open for him to know. And make sure that either before, during, or at the end of your prayer, you also ask for peace, so that you can begin the healing process you need to address and overcome your problems.
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