Many people have an image of God like a gene in a lamp—just rub and make a wish. “Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.”
If that were the case—then we are the Masters in control of the lamp and God does what we say. Where would we be? Is our wisdom greater than the wisdom of God? Folks who are mature in their faith know that God does not always give us what we ask. The Lord always listens to our prayers and always answers—but sometimes the answer is “no”. The disciples had the same questions that we have. So they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. He gave them the perfect prayer--the “Lord’s Prayer—the Our Father”. Notice that there aren’t to many “give me’s” in the Our Father—just the essentials. Praise to the Name of God—Hallowed be your name—a name not to be taken in vain, or used to curse, or said in jokes. “Your kingdom come.” Remember that Jesus said, “The Kingdom is all around you—just open your eyes.” Eternity starts now, not when we die, not when we go to heaven, but right now. What we see is what we get and we are responsible—the world we have is the one we have made. God did not invent pollution. We ask for daily bread—that means what we need to survive. No where does Jesus suggest that we ask to be rich. What we need is very different that what we want. About one half of the world population goes to bed hungry every night. Sad part—there is enough food in the world so that no one needs to be hungry. Does God provide? Does God care that some folks don’t have enough to eat? Of course Yes—but the food—the resources are in the hands of a few while others have nothing. Here comes the easy part: “Forgive us our sins.” And God always forgives us—gladly—no matter how big our sin is—over and over.
We are the ones who have difficulty forgiving ourselves and consequently forgiving each other. There is a connection. If we cannot or we refuse to forgive ourselves we cannot forgive anyone else. That’s why the prayer is intimately connected—“forgive us as we forgive those who have hurt us.” Involves “letting go”, “not wanting to be in control”, not holding a grudge. Lack of forgiveness is why families stop talking to each other—one of the reasons that we can’t sleep at night—and might even cause wrinkles. (no proof on that one) Certainly holding on to hurts causes anxiety—a we know that a prune is a worried plum. Actually takes more energy to have resentments than to forgive.
We don’t have to beg God to forgive us—we don’t have to pester Him to hear our prayer—and we don’t have to repeat ourselves thinking that God is deaf. The Lord is always listening. When we doubt is when the “final test” comes in. The same “final test” that Jesus got when He was hanging on the cross. “Come down—if you are the Son of God—if you are who you say you are—prove it. The devil’s voice always tempts us to doubt God’s love for us. The “worthy/unworthy” game is one that we will never win. We can never be worthy of God’s love—only Jesus and the Blessed Mother were sinless. Everybody else has faults. The beauty of our Faith is that by the death and resurrection of Christ we are made worthy. We have been ransomed—acquitted—forgiven—without deserving—without meriting—no questions asked. We know who we are in Christ. Without Him we are nothing. In Him we have eternal life.
The “final test” comes many times in our life. Temptation is part of life. God’s mercy is more powerful—to Him we look for our salvation. The Father is always ready to give us the Holy Spirit.