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THE HARDEST PRAYER TO PRAY

Father Francis's picture
Third Week of Advent

Is. 7:10-14 & Lk. 1:26-38

Through Isaiah we have that wonderful prophecy of Mary and the coming of our Messiah, “The Maiden is with child and will soon give birth to a son whom she will call Emmanuel, a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.”

I am sure you will agree with me that Mary's respnse, "I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me," is the hardest prayer for any person to pray. It involves total and unconditional commitment. It is the submission of self to God. Mary prayed that prayer with such grace and poise that she made it seem easy. But we know it was not; it never is. When Jesus prayed in the garden, 'Not my will but thine be done,' so intense was the struggle that His sweat became as drops of blood.

Could we be as generous as Mary and make a total submission of our lives to God? If we do, what it means is that we are giving God a blank cheque of our life. We sign it at the bottom and He is free to fill in whatever amount He chooses. That is not easy to do, never has been and never will be. Yet, how desperately we need to learn that prayer, for within it lies the true test of our faith in God. It is one thing to trust Him for our daily bread. But the real test comes at the point of trusting Him with our very self, of laying our lives on the line for Him to do with it as He will.

I read the story of an acrobat who walked the high wire without a safety net. On one occasion he stretched the wire across a deep gorge and he walked to the other side and back again. The people applauded. “Now” he announced, “I will push this wheel barrow across.' Then he turned to a man nearby and said, 'Do you believe I can do it?' 'Yes,' said the man, 'I am certain.' At that the acrobat said, 'Then get in the wheelbarrow and go with me.' The man declined, and I don't blame him. So would I.

But the story makes a valid point. The ultimate test of faith is laying our life on the line. It would be foolish to do that to entertain a crowd. But when it comes to putting our trust in God it is the only safe thing to do with our lives. Mary said, 'I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let what you have said be done to me.' Could we pray that prayer along with Our Blessed Lady?

Heavenly Father, we thank You for choosing Mary to be the mother of Your Son and our Mother too. May we live our lives to be worthy of her.

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