Skillful and Helpless

Queen Esther by Andrea de Castagno
Queen Esther by Andrea de Castagno

Ask, and you will receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened.

The door in question here is the door between heaven and earth. The Omnipotent One sits on the other side of it.

Many of our first readings at daily Mass during the first part of Lent teach us this: God is in charge. Always. Therefore, for us, the most genuinely prudent, clever, and wise course always involves praying like the desperate, helpless creatures that we are.

Lord, help us! Have mercy on us! If it be Your holy will, may this be Winter 2015’s last punch. Or, if not, give us the grace to make good use of our snow days. And help us overcome our parish-budget problems somehow. Since we seem to be looking at two budget-busting icy Sundays in a row here.

The thing that makes the prayers of Queen Esther, and the king of Nineveh, and Daniel, and Naaman the Syrian, and Azariah so beautiful is: the childlike confidence with which they trust in the goodness of God.

Now, our own human devices and schemes have some value, to be sure. God made us reasonable and resourceful. We can’t renounce our capacities to accomplish constructive things. Like pre-treating roads with brine before a snowstorm, etc.

But our human skills and capacities do not compare with the power of God. Our greatest skill and our most powerful capacity will always be: urgent, confident, desperate prayer.

No, we are not altogether helpless. Compared to puppies, and deer in headlights, and baby pandas, we are downright masterful.

But compared to God? Helpless.

So let’s beg His help always. Knowing, with the certitude of divine faith, that He will always help us, in the best-possible way.


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