Sunday, March 17, 2024 – Fifth Sunday of Lent – Day 33

March 17, 2024

I think one of the challenges many may be experiencing this week is a maturing understanding of practicing prayer in our lives. For many, we have matured to a certain age level in life and think we have arrived. I can’t imagine my prayer life is the same level it was when I was ordained forty-two years ago. Today, Michael White and Tom Corcoran show us a more more mature and developed understanding of Supplication. In short, they define supplication as “the act of asking or begging for something earnestly and humbly.”

The example Tom Corcoran shares about a parishioner is consistent with many faith communities including CCHS. Many of us have witnessed supplication prayers that have resulted in results clearly in line with God’s will. 

There was a parishioner at CCHS diagnosed with a terminal illness. Throughout the challenges of the illness progression, she prayed a very powerful prayer of supplication: “Your will be done.” The prayer was earnest, humble, open to God’s will and faith filled. I pray my supplications are as earnest and faith filled too. I can only imagine how God welcomed her home. 

Michael White and Tom Corcoran offer these reflection questions today:

When have you been disappointed that prayer did not seem to make a difference? 

Have you ever experienced a clear answer to prayer? If so, what was it?

What can you specifically pray for today?

The authors advise us to pray with specifics when offering a prayer of supplication. Probably, for me, the prayer the seems to be elusive or disappointing is prayer for peace in our nation and world. I observe leaders who seem to be filled with hate and prone to violence. There are dark angels battling good. How do I get more specific when the need is so broad?  Maybe I should focus on different aspects with more specificity. 

Ten years ago, after seven years leading the difficult merge of two parishes at the Jersey shore, I was bruised and tired. During and after the merge, there seemed to be a real detachment of the experience from the Gospel. I needed a spiritual and intellectual recharge. I brought it to prayer and discerned my options with some advisors. My prayer was answered. After some candid conversation with my superiors, I was offered a sabbatical. I spent the next year at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and travel to Rome and Paris!  Recharge! My prayer was answered. God’s will be done. 

I will pray today for my great nephew. In his thirties, he is being treated for cancer that has spread to his lungs. He’s a good man bearing a tremendous cross. Like the CCHS parishioner, I will pray for God to make my great nephew’s cross bearable, and God’s will be done. 

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!