In our previous consideration of ongoing conversion in the Year of Faith, we heard this admonishment from the CCC:
The free gift of adoption requires on our part continual conversion and new life.
We already looked at the first of the two “fundamental dispositions” noted by the CCC to which our ongoing conversion should lead us. Now let’s explore the second, which is presented as follows in CCC n. 2785:
Second, a humble and trusting heart that enables us “to turn and become like children”: for it is to “little children” that the Father is revealed.
- [The prayer is accomplished] by the contemplation of God alone, and by the warmth of love, through which the soul, molded and directed to love him, speaks very familiarly to God as to its own Father with special devotion.
- Our Father: at this name love is aroused in us . . . and the confidence of obtaining what we are about to ask. . . . What would he not give to his children who ask, since he has already granted them the gift of being his children?
The encouragement to develop a “humble and trusting heart” reminds me of the call of the First Beatitude to be “poor in spirit,” to recognize our relative helplessness and live in absolute dependence on the Lord. We can make progress in this by deepening our personal relationship with God through a faithful prayer life, in which we speak “very familiarly to God as to [our] own Father with special devotion.”
Regarding the Father’s willingness to “give to his children who ask,” I too often focus on the prayers of mine which seem to have gone unanswered, and in self-centered disappointment ask of our Lord “Why have you not granted my request?” Rather, I should be taking more time to reflect on the ways in which God has indeed been at work in my life, and should profusely offer Him heartfelt gratitude for his generosity and paternal concern for me. Regarding those seemingly ‘unheard’ prayers, these words of Pope Benedict near the end of his Year of Faith letter, Porta Fidei, provide some perspective:
The life of Christians knows the experience of joy as well as the experience of suffering. How many of the saints have lived in solitude! How many believers, even in our own day, are tested by God’s silence when they would rather hear his consoling voice! The trials of life, while helping us to understand the mystery of the Cross and to participate in the sufferings of Christ (cf. Col 1:24), are a prelude to the joy and hope to which faith leads: “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10)