Passions and Prayer.
He only wanted his son back and in good health but the only person who could perform this miracle was one called Jesus the Christ. Now passion drove him to humble himself and approach the one he believed could accomplish the impossible. Prayer was the action that began the process of recovery. A simple petition: could you come and lay your hands upon my son?
Stop now and think. Passion in man or woman can drive us to good or to evil. If passion becomes disordered then it produces blindness to the good or evil in our life. If we become attached to the passion of lust, or drink or money, then we rationalize whatever we do and justify our sinful act with such stupidity that in our saner days we would laugh at the mental construct. Today reason, which is the bridle that we need to employ in order to control our passions, has passed out of our society and emotion is now dominating everywhere.
For this reason our prayer lives are suffering tremendously. Prayer must see clearly the need that is most pressing in our lives. Recall the story of Solomon's dream in which God approached him and asked what he desired. A genie could offer no greater wish and Solomon answered: "I desire wisdom to guide your people." Because you have ask for wisdom and not wealth and a long life, I will grant you all besides.
Here is the key to our prayer life if we have controlled our passions:
"Seek first the kingdom of God and all else will be given thee besides. Wealth - yes if you first seek to save your soul. Health - yes, if you seek the kingdom of God as a priority.
Passions can destroy this priority and hence destroy the prayer that seeks not the kingdom first but rather selfish pursuits. We please God when we desire to do His holy will which is always that we might save our souls. From this attitude prayer flows and is captured by God and the answer is quickly coming and clear. Now the prayer for the boy was a petition that lead to a deeper faith when Jesus said: "Go your way your son lives." This took place at the seventh hour, the hour of perfection. Perfection was coming to this petitioner when his servant ran up to tell him that his son lives. When did he improve - it was at the seventh hour. Now adoration comes to the leader and to his whole family for they believed.
So the progression to perfection of prayer comes when the order is correct and the desire is pure. Humility is the virtue that we must practice in order that prayer may begin its perfection of our faith and trust in God. Prayer of the humble and just man is always heard. Purify and humble yourselves through a good and humble confession and prayer will find its mark in God's heart.
In the hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Fr. Richard Voigt