The Weakness of God and the Strength of Man

With unsurpassable literary beauty, this Sunday Jesus has not only taught us how to pray well, but He also has showed us the means to make our prayer infallible, encouraging us to have boundless trust in His divine words.

Newsdesk (26/07/2022 10:20 AM, Gaudium Press) A great mystery and divine example were Jesus’ prayers to the Father. How can we explain the attitude of the God-Man in praying to the Father for so many intentions, if He Himself is omnipotent and, above all, since they are equal among themselves? Does it not seem somewhat contradictory for God to ask God for help for Himself? Would it not be more fitting for Him to make His wishes effective directly, instead of praying?

These doubts and many others will be dispelled if we meditate on a comment made by the Holy Patriarch Hesychius of Jerusalem:[1] This author tells us that from all eternity the Son desired to be able to address the Father as inferior, but it was impossible for Him to do so, becausego, as theology explains to us on the basis of Revelation, the Persons of the Blessed Trinity are equal among themselves. The Father also wished to give something to the Son, but by what means, if they are identical?

Mary resolved this question with her fiat, allowing the Son to become man. It was from within His human nature that Jesus raised His mind to God and expressed the desires of his Sacred Heart, praying that they might be fulfilled. In other words, Jesus never prayed as God – nor would it have made sense for Him to do so – but He always prayed as man, because He knew that certain graces could only be obtained through His requests.

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The power of persistent prayer!

Jesus was for us an unsurpassable example of the realization of His own advice: “Oportet semper orare et non deficere – It is important to pray always and not to cease to pray” (Lk 18:1). We must pray as we breathe, and therefore never lose heart or breath.

In today’s Gospel, we find Jesus, in response to a request made by his disciples, emphasizing the need and importance of praying and never giving up doing so. For prayer united to that of Jesus and made through His intercession is infallible: “Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it to you” (Jn 16:23). Based on the words of the Redeemer, it is up to us to have unshakeable confidence in the power of prayer.

However, it is essential that we conform ourselves to God’s will, following the example of His own Son when He said: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me. Yet let it be done not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Mt 26:39). He expressed this wish to make it clear to us how legitimate it is to express our sorrow, wanting it to end, but always in conformity with God’s will.

Are there then prayers that must be unconditional? Yes, graces clearly necessary for our salvation cannot be asked for in a conditional way. Our Lord also gave us an example in this way of praying. And here his prayers uttered in an absolute manner never fail to be answered, as St. Thomas Aquinas explains to us.[2]

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For example, when he prayed for Peter: “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and you, once converted, strengthen your brothers” (Lk 22:32). It was because of the fruits of this prayer of Jesus that Peter persevered, was sanctified and reached his most beautiful martyrdom. And it will certainly be for this same cause that the successor of Peter confirms in the faith all the faithful.

It is necessary to pray

In this way we must understand this Sunday’s Gospel as an invitation to pray more and more. If even the Son of God wanted to pray so many times during his earthly life, how much more must we do it. Even if we fear that we do not have sufficient quality in our prayers, let us overcome this lack by the quantity of our prayers, for this was precisely the intention of the Divine Master when He drew up this beautiful parable.

Above all, let us remember that we have a Father in Heaven, always ready to give what we ask for (Cf. Lk 11,13), because prayer makes the strong God weak!

Taken with adaptations from:

CLÁ DIAS, João Scognamiglio. New Insights on the Gospels: Commentaries on the Sunday Gospels. Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2012, v.6. p. 243-253.

Compiled by Roberta MacEwan

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