TO PRAY AND TO TRUST
True faith is both a free gift of God and the free assent of our will to the whole truth that God has revealed.
Today's Gospel of Mark is unusual, not in that Jesus drove out the unclean spirit, but in that he did so without being asked. More often than not Jesus helped needy people in response to a petition. It is not as if Jesus had to be told what should be done. Rather he willed that his help would come as a result of faith manifested in a request.
Scriptures tells us that true faith works through love, and abounds in hope (Gal/Roms). True faith is both a free gift of God and the free assent of our will to the whole truth that God has revealed. To live, grow, and persevere in the faith to the end, we must nourish it with the word of God. The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds that we may grow in His truth and in the knowledge of His great love for each of us and conform our lives according to God's word!
God does not need to be informed about our needs. Such is not the purpose of the prayer of petition. Rather God has, for the most part, willed to respond to our needs in answer to prayer. To put it another way, and perhaps more accurately, God moves us to pray for what is right and good as part of his overall plan to do what is right and good for us.
In the ancient world and particularly in the Old Testament, names often indicated one's function or role in life. Over the next few weeks, we will hear how Samuel fulfills the role that God entrusts to him. Maybe even our own name indicates the role or function God had given to us. If we believe that we can discern God's will for us through prayer, reflection, meditation and our relationship to others, then we, like Samuel, have the meaning of our names.
Points to Pray and Ponder: Jim Murphy, a lay retreat director took a journey 4200 - miles on foot across America, carrying a 6ft cross in an effort of prayer and evangelization. It took 18 months... and 14 pairs of shoes! He gives talks about Discerning God's Will in Your Life. "We hear God more when we relax, than if we are anxiously saying, 'Come, God. I need an answer now." He also talks about the big 3 "D's" of discernment to help us: Discern, Decide and Do.