Thursday of the First Week in Lent
Today, Jesus speaks of how willing the Father is to give us the good things we ask for. What He says is so simple and straightforward: “ask and it will be given to you.” There are no conditions, no qualifications, nothing else that we have to do beyond presenting ourselves to God, making our request, and trusting in His goodness. As with yesterday, though, the question comes to us: do we actually think this? Is going to God our first reaction, or are we more like Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life, turning to God only when he is at the end of his rope?
St. Ignatius proposes a very practical way of recovering a felt sense of God’s presence. For the Jesuit making an examination of conscience twice a day, the first step St. Ignatius gives is to recall the blessings that God has bestowed already in the day. When doing this, we should try and be as specific and concrete as possible. The more we are accustomed to doing this, the more we will see the ways in which God has bestowed good things on us at every twist and turn of the day. As this reality sinks in further and further, we can get better at experiencing God’s presence and seeing His hand in even the most minute of occurrences. Lent began last week with the admonition from Joel “return to me.” If we are able to cultivate in prayer an ability to experience the Father and call upon Him anywhere for anything, we will have gone a long way towards following that admonition.