Sunday, May 21, 2006


"Efficacious prayer" - fragments from "Divine Intimacy" by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen OCD.

PRESENCE OF GOD - O, Jesus, make me understand that my prayer is of no avail unless it is made in Your Name; that my faith is vain unless I convert it into works


1. In today's Gospel [Fifth Sunday after Easter], taken from the discourse of Jesus after Last Supper (Jn 16, 23-30), the Church continues to prepare us for the Ascension and Pentecost. "I came forth from the Father and am come into the world," Jesus said "again I leave the world, and I go to the Father.". Thus He announces His approaching Ascension. Having reached the end of His ministry on earth, Jesus presents it in synthesis as a long journey from the Father to the world and from the world to the Father. These words repeat the idea of "pilgrimage", which every Christian should apply to his own life, considering it as a "night" during which his heart is turned toward the radiant tomorrow of eternal life.
"The hour cometh when I will no more speak to you in proverbs, but will show you plainly of the Father". Jesus is now referring to Pentecost, to the intervention of the Holy Spirit by whom Jesus will enlighten His Apostles, giving them a clear undestanding of the divine mysteries, so that the Father will no longer be unknown to them. All that we can study and learn about the things of God is a dead letter if the Holy Spirit does not enlighten us concerning them. Our need for Him is absolute; our desire for His coming should be unbounded. Yet another subject is brought to our attention in today's Gospel. Jesus had spoken to the Apostles many times about prayer and the way they should pray; today He reveals the secret of efficacious prayer: "If you ask the Father anything in My Name, he will give it you." Jesus is going, but He leaves the Apostles an unfailing means of approach to the Father and for our salvation, deserves to be "heard for His reverence (Heb. 5,7)"

2. To pray "in the Name of Jesus" establishes the conviction that our prayer, as well as all our good works, have no value unless they are founded on the infinite merits of Jesus. We must be presuaded that, however much we do or pray, we are always "unprofitable servants" (Lk 17,10); we have no sufficiency in ourselves, but all our sufficiency comes from Crucified. Consequently, the first condition of prayer made "in the Name of Jesus" is humility, an ever deeper and more realistic sense of nothingness. It must be complemented by the second condition, a boundless confidence in the merits of Jesus, which surpass all our poverty, misery, necessities, needs. In view of Jesus' infinite merits, we can never ask too much in His Name; we can never be too bold in imploring the plentitude of divine grace for our souls, in aspiring to that sanctity which is hidden, perhaps, but genuine. There is no fault, no want of fidelity, no evil tendency, no sin, which if sincerely detested, cannot be cleansed, purified, and pardoned by the Blood of Jesus; there is no weakness which He cannot cure, strenghten, and transform. Moreover,there is no creature of good will, no matter how weak and insignificant, who, in the Name of Jesus, cannot aspire to sanctity.
However, in order to make our prayer effective, a third condition is required: our life must correspond to our prayer, our faith must be translated in to good works. "Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if a man be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he shall be compared to a man beholding his own countenance in a glass. For he beheld himself, and went his way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was". This strong exhortation of St. James, which is found in today's Epistle (1, 22-27), is an urgent remainder of the practical character of the Christian life. Vain is our prayer, vain our confidence in God, if we do not add our generous efforts to perform all our duties, to live up to our high vocation. We can, and we should, hope for everything in the Name of Jesus, but He expects a constant effort on our part to be entirely faithful to Him.


...."O my the terrible sorrows of Your Son, pardon my sins! Grant, O God, that His goodness may overcome my wickedness, that His meekness may atone for my perversity, that His mildness may dominate my irascibility. May His humility make amends for my pride; His patience, for my impatience; His benignity, for my harshness; His obedience, for my disobedience; His tranquility, for my anxiety, His sweetness, for my bitterness; may His charity blot out my cruelty! "(St. Augustine).