What would Jesus want to hear when you pray to Him

Sacred Heart of Jesus Picture

You may recall the phrase “What would Jesus do?”  Now I want to write about another question:  What does Jesus want to hear when you pray to Him?

The question came to mind when I thought how Jesus might want us to pray.  There is no real formula, but there is the beginning (ask Him to be with you), the middle (where you and He converse) and then the ending (where you say thanks and say good night, or see You later).  So I decided jot a few things down to be more clear what I think Jesus might want to hear when we pray to Him. I’m not a great expert, but I have read a few books and listened to a few homilies in my years on earth.  So here goes (just think of these and see where maybe you could add a few more things of your own – make the list long!):

  1. You call His name and ask Him to be with you.
  2. You tell him how you did that day (p.m.) or how you are grateful for the new day (a.m.).
  3. He wants you to be as candid as you can be. Give him a lot of ideas on how you wish your day should have been, how you could have done things better, ask His help on some knotty problem!
  4. Talk to Him like He was your best friend because He is. Tell Him you aren’t that happy about someone who is such and such, or tell Him you think that someone you should love is not lovable to you. Things that bother you about the establishment, politics (He won’t take sides in this – He wants your opinion) or, even how the Church is being run. Tell Him anything as long as you think this is true. Just be frank and open. No holds barred. He’s there for you.
  5. Ask Him to watch over you, your spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends – the guy down the street whoever you like – even the President. He will.
  6. Tell Him your needs, your wishes; make it something big, or just a small wish even. You can start small and then ask Him to help with something big – if it’s something good for you.
  7. Ask Him to help you to believe that dreams do come true
  8. Make Him happy by telling Him that you love Him, that you are grateful for His blessings, that you want to believe in Him more and more.
  9. Make Him be your constant friend and companion.
  10. Let Him be Your guide and ask Him to be with you in your work, your play and your quiet rest times

Because it’s Lent

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The other day, I saw a coworker and friend who had foot surgery over a month ago.  He had a swollen foot now for days maybe weeks, and the swelling wouldn’t go away.  And I was recounting to him what I was thinking of that morning in prayer.  I realized why his foot was taking longer to heal: because it was Lent.

My friend looked at me and repeated: “Because it’s Lent?  That my foot is still swollen?”
I said yes.  I said to him that Lent is like that.

It may not be for all, but for me, Lent is such a hard slog to go through.  It seems to drag on for weeks.  And it does.  I have a consciousness of a dark kind of depression, even, that descends over me.

Lent is where I find that “Dark night of the soul” that St John of God wrote about.  In Lent, I find that I share in the sufferings of Jesus as He makes His way to Calvary.  It seems that Jesus is asking me to share His Passion.  By any means necessary.  One Lent, I spent my weeks sharing my Mom’s hospital room as she was going into a deep decline and final meeting with Sister Death.

I find that other friends find Lent a terrible time as well.  While I was on the phone with a good friend, she exclaimed piteously how Lent made her so sad, so depressed

Other times when the subject of Lent comes up, I hear people murmur “Oh yeah. Lent.”  And they have a sad look.

Sometimes Lent is like that.  It is for me.  A religious sister spoke of Lent to us in a group.  She said Lent is Spring.  It’s the time to look at the renewal of nature.  To look at renewing our own selves.  Our souls.

For my friend, who has a swollen foot, it is an optimistic thought.  Like the Resurrection.  The suffering of Christ finally ends in His rising from the dead.

For me, for us, Lent is a given.  We, as Christians, have to go through our version of Lent.  For the younger ones, they give up something for Lent.  For the older ones, we go through a deep dive into the Cross.  We all, each of us, has a Cross to bear. Sometimes, more than one!  It could be that surly boss, or, the copier that malfunctions, or a child who is sick, or our own infirmities.

Lent is a magnifier of our cross.  But that is ok.  We all need a retreat, a retreat into what God is asking us to think of, to suffer and to finally see that it’s all going to be ok.

When Easter comes, we will look at each other and say, “We survived another Lent.”  Kind of when winter is over, and spring buds are out.  We survived another winter.

I guess I just had to write about Lent.  It’s almost over.  We will survive.  My Mom passed a few weeks before Easter.  But she spent her Easter in Heaven.  So we all have that one, that First Easter in Heaven to look forward to.  And while we spend the remaining years of our lives counting each passing Lent, let these earthly Lenten Seasons season us and make us worthy of that First Easter.

Ruminations

Ruminating, as I read my homework assignment, about how it seems that human beings are so wrapped up in their work, the shiny things they want for themselves (money, power, possessions) and the many ways they can achieve these.  People look at “the steps to climb the ladder of success” and, in these, see people – their supervisors, coworkers and upper managers and family members, as the rungs to plant their feet upon and dig into as they try to reach the pinnacles of success.

In this world, we are given the opportunities to know God, the Truth and Beauty that He is, through our lives and our loves.  He doesn’t care if you won the Nobel Peace Prize.  He cares if you would, once in a while, look up at the sky and smile, saying “Thanks!”  He cares that you see you parents that love you and you take them out to dinner sometimes.  He cares that you love your children, not by buying them the latest toys, but by the gift of your time.  He cares when you send money to help His less fortunate children.

I think God wants us to think outside the boxes of our work lives and reach out to examine with Him how you ought to look at your life as it is now.  God wants to save you from despair, the mind-numbing repetitions of your life, the hardships within the material successes in your life.  He wants you to succeed at gaining Heaven.  He wants you to see Him as the Source of everything that is good and rich, more than what money can buy.  He loves you as you were made and wants you to follow Him, not the shiny objects, not the power or fame.  He wants you to live an eternal life with all the people who ever lived and loved you always.

God places people in your lives to represent him in one way or another – don’t make the error of ignoring those who you come across who need a smile, a helping hand, a little greeting to ease their day.  Little things count with God.  St. Therese of Lisieux wrote about her “Little Way”.  Let this philosophy be your guide in the encounters with God in your life.

I encourage you to write your daily thoughts in a journal and think of God as the Person who looks over your shoulder, not as judge, but as the Lover of your Soul.  He will read your words, the feelings you write down, and act to help you in your problems and dilemmas, and enrich your mind in ways that you’ve not done in the past.  God will provide, as the Divine Provider.  What you need is not what the magazine ads tell you nor what your neighbors’ new devices tempt you to buy into.  What you need is to listen to God’s voice. Ask and you shall receive, seek God and He will find you.

May the Lenten journey be light upon your shoulders as you ask God to accompany you.

The New Spring

For me, Lent is difficult.  It begins with the seeming self awareness that I’m lacking in the right stuff to get to the heavenly shores (should I be snatched up out of this earthly life now).  I see my consumerism, the wastefulness of it, the desires to keep up with those in my life who seem to have the right accoutterments to succeed.  Then usually, when Lent is nigh, there’s a physical mode to it – like this year I had to go to urgent care.  My own doing – had me feeling a bit fragile for a few days.  Lent is when Christians, Catholics, look inwardly to search where they might have strayed from the path to holiness.  Well, that is what I am trying to do more of these days.  I have pledged to read more about Francis and Clare, to say a daily rosary, and to bear the slings and arrows that get directed at me from out of left field. The path to holiness is, to me, being educated in the way of the saints, bearing ills with patience, and being humble.  For me, that last thing is quite denervating but since Jesus was humble and He is my God I should strive to be humble too.

But Lent is Springtime.  The buds are on the branches on my maple tree by my front bay window.  The sun shines on the brown yard willing it to sprout green shootlings.  People start to look into their seed and garden catalogs.  I think for me, the new Spring is a rediscovery of what was pleasing to me in my youth:  favorite books like those written by Dorothy Sayers, listening to music from Broadway shows like Oklahoma and West Side Story, and writing stories.  So this springtime that coincides with Lent and is Lent, I will strive to do what I must to renew myself in Christ, buffered by taking up the stuff of my youth – music, good reading and writing.

May the Lord of Creation give you peace.