Here is an easy question: How do we develop a friendship with the Lord, now, while we are still here on earth? Easy… You got it: By praying.
Anyone ever heard of the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Everybody know that the Catechism is divided into four parts, for the four pillars of the Catholic faith?
Part IV of the Catechism concerns prayer. This part of the Catechism begins with the gospel reading for Lent III, about the Samaritan woman at the well.
Makes sense because: To pray is like going to a well. Someone who prays opens up his soul to God like a thirsty throat opening up for cool, refreshing water.
When we open up like this, when we go to the well of prayer, we find Christ waiting for us there, like the Samaritan woman did.
Now, human beings are naturally inclined to pray. But a lot of things can get in the way. Spiritual laziness. Self-centeredness. Attachments to material things. False ideas about God. Distractions. Distractions. Distractions.
In Christ, we find humble and true prayer. The Catechism has a beautiful one-sentence explanation of what Christian prayer is: “Prayer is the response of faith to the free promise of salvation.”
What did the Lord say to the woman at the well? “If you knew the gift of God!”
The woman had rebuffed the Messiah at first, because He made a request she didn’t think she could deal with. She couldn’t fully grasp what He was asking her. She had her ideas about how she fit into the world. And this interaction fell outside those ideas.
But if only we knew the gift of God! Nailed to the cross for us.
Instead, we waste our time thinking thoughts like: I’m a loser, because I don’t have very many facebook friends. Or: I’m not worth anything, because I’m fat. I’m not cool, because I only have an iPhone 4. I suck, because I can’t cook, and I can’t jump, and I can’t get a girlfriend.
No! If we only knew the gift of God, the promise of salvation. He is saying to us: I died for you, at the exact weight you are now, with the exact number of facebook friends you have right now! You don’t need to be any thinner, or have any more facebook friends, for me to love you. I suffered agony and died for you exactly as you are—I suffered that much, and died that miserably, precisely to show you how much I want you with me in heaven.
So, please, for a minute, just forget your diet and your job and your husband and your wife and your children and your parents and your neighbor and your car and your business and your dog and your cat and your homework and your resume and your money and your apps and your DVR—forget it all for a minute.
And believe that your Maker has suffered and died on the cross out of love for you.
Just stop, please, for one minute, and believe. Then whisper in your heart of hearts, in your inner room, whatever comes to mind…
Prayer, Christian prayer. Believing and responding to the promise of salvation. Let’s believe, and let’s respond.