Thursday in the First Week of Lent at Assumption Abbrey
[Scripture Readings: Esther 14:1, 3-5, 12-14; Mt 7:7-12 ]
The great German theologian, Fr. Karl Rahner, taught that every prayer is heard by Christ, answered in the most exalted manner possible (On Prayer, p. 77), because Jesus promises: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; and whoever seeks finds; and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Lk 11:9-10).
Prayer is never wasted. Once a three year old girl went to the store with her mother who told her, “I can't afford to spend money on chocolate chip cookies, so don't even ask.” She put her daughter in the child's seat of the cart and picked up her groceries. Passing the cookie shelves the child asked, “Mom, may I have some chocolate chip cookies?” She said, “Don't ask.” Heading toward the checkout counter she said again, “Please, Mom, just a few?” “No,” she replied. Waiting in the checkout line she knew that this was her last chance. She stood up in the cart and called out in her loudest voice, “Please, please, in the name of Jesus, could I have some chocolate chip cookies?” Everyone around laughed, but the mother and child left the store with several gift boxes of chocolate chip cookies.
So, keep on asking and you will receive; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking and the door will be opened.
When I was a young monk I noticed Br. Kevin spending a lot of time praying in church, I asked him, “Why do you spend so much time praying in church?” He replied, “Because prayer is never wasted, it is always good.” That made a deep impression on me about the value of all prayer.
I remember reading a short story in which the hero is faced with a dilemma. He is in an arena standing before two doors. Behind one of them there is a beautiful maiden. If he opens that door she will be his. Behind the other there is a ferocious hungry tiger. If he opens that door he is finished.1
But Jesus teaches us that when we pray there will always be something good behind every door. Our prayers will always be answered for our good or the good of those for whom we pray.