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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Yammering with God

I'm headed for the Midwest once again. My lovely mother, who just turned 87 and who cares for my father who is bedridden and immobile, is sick herself and in the hospital. She'll need some help when she gets out, so off I go. I'll try to keep up with everything while I'm there, which I was able to do last time I had to stay there. We'll be fine with your extra prayers. Which brings me to this question.

Why do we pray? For the living, specifically. I understand why we pray for the dead in purgatory.

When I think about praying for my self, it seems very selfish. Even praying for others, for example, praying for better health for someone who's sick, seems like a lack of faith. Shouldn't I just pray for God's will and give prayers of Thanksgiving for good stuff that happens? Also, should I really believe that God was going to let someone die of cancer until people prayed for that person. Did God change his mind? What if people don't have anyone to pray for them?

I actually do believe in the power of prayer, I'm just not sure how, or even if I should, direct it.

You have to pray for yourself. It's not selfish. Don't you need God's help? Even Oprah and Dr. Phil understand that you can't help anybody, even souls in Purgatory, if you are a big mess yourself. Just ask that Ted Haggard fellow.

Anyhow, you're already missing the key element about prayer (as with so many other things): it's not about you. It's about God. Then it's about God and you and what the two of you are up to together. Prayer comes from God, not the other way around.

Remember in the Old Testament how God is always talking to Abraham? They have pretty important things to say to each other. They have to come to some understandings. That's why when God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Abraham grabs a knife and heads for the hills. That, and the fact that animal sacrifice was a normal thing. God was just asking for a better gift today.

Which, by the way, is just another reason I don't think animals have immortal souls and go to heaven. Not to harp on this, but if animals have immortal souls and go to heaven, then all those doves and lambs were murdered at God's request.

God never asks for murder. He stopped Abraham.

I digress.

Prayer is about you being on the same page with God, not about you asking God for things that make you happy, including the health of your loved ones. Not that you shouldn't talk to God about that. Does God cure people? Yes. Does he cure everyone? No.

God never cures cleft palates, for example. Only surgery will fix that. He also seems to have no interest in growing back limbs or making Little People taller. Other than those things, He has pulled off some doozies. People living with axes in their heads (only in the deep South), a girl who lost half her brain and is just fine, and you may have heard about His latest accomplishment, when that guy survived a 47 story fall. Most people don't survive a three story fall. I'm sure that guy was praying on the way down.

So was his brother, no doubt, who also fell but did not survive. Let's hope he was wearing his scapular.

Why did God do that? It's a Sacred Mystery. (That's Catholic talk for 'let it go'.)

I think you are correct, however, that all we're ever really asking for is that God's Will be done and for the strength and wisdom not to be angry and bitter when God's Will is done and we pretty much hate it. Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead everyone was crying and Jesus was crying and people were saying, "Gee, this guy helps blind people and cures lepers. Why didn't he just stop Lazarus from dying in the first place?

Why indeed? When He goes out to raise Lazarus, Jesus prays, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me." That's all.

"I thank Thee."

So, you're on the right track here.

And quickly, someone asked if they should have St. Christina as their confirmation name. Which St. Christina? This one? or This one?


Sarah - Kala said...

Awesome post, Sister. God bless you and your visit to your parents. May Gods will be done, of course, but I'll keep you all in my prayers anyhow!!
Love from MD,
JOT and family

Anonymous said...

Back on the ESPN thing, I don't have television cable or satilite, Jeanette, I heard about it on Christian radio.
As for a one week suspension, not enough, the whole world came down on Mel Gibson for his drunken rant. The woman needs fired.
Sorry, Sister, I know you have more pressing matters at hand but I'm tired of just letting Christian bashing be the social norm. If I don't stand up for Christ why should HE stand up for me?
Hash it out people, I've got my week-end full with the "Right to Life" walk.

Anonymous said...

Let's pray for this Dana, and ask St Christina the Astonishing to join us.

Leigh said...

You're in my thoughts and prayers as you travel to my neck of the woods. Word of caution: It's VERY cold. My minivan's temperature gauge indicated -9 degrees this morning. We're supposed to be up to a balmy 27 degrees over the weekend. Wear long johns under that habit! Stay warm and safe.

RadioPie said...

Are there any confirmation names that you guys are sick of? Are there certain saints that you JUST DON'T name yourself after? I know it's kind of a dumb concern, but I have to pick a name soon, and I don't want to make some big confirmation faux pas by picking the "wrong name."

Anonymous said...

Sister, you've flipped that lovely painting of Our Lady with the triplet Angels. It is reversed from the way Bouguereau (I think it was Bouguereau) painted it. The original is at the Forest Lawn Museum, in Glendale. It is one of my favorite paintings.

By the way, the model for the Angels was the artist's girlfriend. He was probably trying to save money... either that or impress her!

Anonymous said...

I bet you thought no one would notice, but I was taught by Nuns--Sisters of St. Joseph--they certainly were tough, but then I DID learn my math, spelling, geography, and a bit of Latin.

The Ironic Catholic said...

Sacred Mystery+Catholic talk for "let it go"

Perfect! I love it! :)

Paloma said...

Talking about prayer, praying for others is a good thing, that is why God gave us the Our Father. It glorifies him, we ask him to help us, and we ask him to forgive us. Also, check Matthew 7:7.