When I saw the title and before I read the article (and as usual it's very good and thought provoking) my mind did some metal gymnastics.
I thought, maybe Jesus is the end, and our experience is the means.
To play on this thought a little - in my life I've prayed to Jesus for the following:
- To pass exams at school;
- For the complete recovery to health of my nan who suffered from a heart-attack and later died when I was 15;
- For a girlfriend not to leave me (thank God she did break-up, because I wouldn't have met my wife - and my wife did not make me write this ;))
- To get a job;
- For my dad's health: he had a heart-attack and recovered completely so I'm batting 50% on the recovery of heart-attack victims);
- For my son not to have down syndrome (in the interim while we were waiting for DNA results - it turns out he did have down syndrome - not a good result for the power of prayer, except..... I'll have to write another blog about this!);
- For money to pay bills; an ongoing prayer right now!
- For discernment: I've recently applied to enter the permanent diaconate formation
- For the healing of my Father in Law who has just been diagnosed with throat cancer.
Et cetera, et cetera!
Anyway.... maybe my prayers have been wrong, or not "wrong" but upside down if you will.
Instead of praying to Jesus for a favourable result, maybe I should be using my experiences as a prayerful way to get to Jesus.
This ties in to an article I read on the Diocese of Washington's blog the other day: how God isn't kind, he's good. http://blog.adw.org/2012/03/kindness-can-kill-if-love-is-unwilling-to-wound/
God won't kindly take away the pain for sin from us, rather He is good enough to send his Son to die for us, and so that we can offer up our suffering to Jesus on the Cross, and with Jesus in his salvific action to save the world from the effects of sin and death.
So instead of praying to Jesus to intercede so that God will kindly stop suffering, reverse sickness, or put money in the account, I am called to enter into my experiences, into my suffering, or the suffering of my loved ones in a way will help me reach Jesus.
After all, the final good that we are trying to reach as Catholics is not good health, a full bank account, or success in life, but oneness with God in eternity.
I'm still going to pray for the healing of Frank my Father in Law though. I think it's allowed ;)