Technical Issue no recording this weekend.
Have you ever been called into the principal’s office? While we didn’t call him the principal at the seminary, I got an email from the president rector asking me to meet with him at a certain time the next day. To make a long story short, that meeting was with my vocation director and the rector of the seminary. They asked me to wait one additional year before being ordained to the priesthood. It was extremely difficult news for me to hear and I needed some people to reach out to. Being in my seventh year in seminary I had developed some good friendships. I had one friend who was already a priest who I could vent to and say what was going on in my heart. Still to this day my priest friend and I keep in good contact, and we keep each other up to date. I have a few other friends that can be helpful to me in my life and help support me when things go bad and rejoice with me when things go well!
However, during that time and especially immediately following what happened, I went to another friend I had as soon as I could. That was our Lord in prayer. I strive in my life to have a good relationship with Jesus. It may sound a little cheesy, but I have a friend in Jesus. I attempt to approach my relationship with our Lord as I would approach a friend.
In the Gospel, we hear Jesus tell his apostles that it is important to pray constantly without growing weary. Then he leads them through a parable about a dishonest judge. Our Lord wants us to get something out of this parable. The judge has no care for God or people. He is more interested in what is best for himself and advancing his wellbeing. However, there is a widow who wants him to decide on a dispute she has. The dishonest judge who could care less for the widow does good for her because she is persistent and doesn’t stop bugging him. It’s the same way with our Lord in our lives, and if we are consistent with him in prayer he will hear and answer us and make sure justice is done for us.
However, I hope you see that our relationship with the Lord is more than just a subject to a judge. Our Lord wants to have a relationship with us, and he wants to be in union with us. That is why when I look at my relationship with the Lord I see it as a friendship and try to examine how my relationship is with him.
One of the first questions I try and ask myself is, do I allow my prayer to be a conversation with God and not a monologue. I don’t know about you, but it is easy for me to go in prayer and to talk and not listen. I don’t know if you have any friends like this, but I’ve known some people that when I talk to them I can’t get a word in edgewise because they dominate the conversation. While it is good for us to talk in prayer it is better when we also spend time simply in the silent presence of our Lord.
I also believe the deeper our relationships get with Jesus, the more we should be comfortable just sitting in the Lord’s presence. I was told by a spiritual director once that for older married couples they don’t necessarily need to be saying something to each other or doing something for each other for them to feel satisfied. Simply being in the room together is enough for them. A lot of times in my own prayer life I get more focused on what I’m saying, what words and gestures I’m using instead of just being satisfied that I’m in God’s presence.
I also ask myself, is my trust in God increasing? Something I know about my friendships is that I can trust them with deeply personal things. I can share with them sins I struggle with worries that I have because I know they not only will keep it to themselves; they too have my best interests in mind. In my relationship with the Lord do I trust that he, too, has my best interest in mind? Do I trust that Jesus died and rose for me so that I too may have eternal life in heaven?
Finally, I should ask myself, do I know Jesus, and more importantly, do I know him through the scriptures? The scriptures should be at the heart of my relationship with God. It is through these words that Jesus spoke to us and revealed himself to us. Do I pray with scripture, do I meditate on it day and night, or is it something that collects dust on my bookshelf, bring it out only when I need it.
My goal in my relationship with the Lord is that I treat him as I would a good friend. That I try and have a conversation in prayer with him instead of it being a one-sided monologue, that I seek to trust him as I would trust a good friend of mine, and finally that I seek to get to know him and who he is by praying with the scriptures. I hope that my prayer life doesn’t grow weary because I have such a relationship with my Lord and God that he is like a friend to me. I hope we can all have that relationship with our Lord and, ultimately one day see God face to face again in heaven.