Friday, September 20, 2002

Friday Intentions

Please pray for yourself today.

The mistake a lot of people make is to think that they should only pray for others, that it would be "selfish" or "impious" to pray for themselves. Wrong. It is nothing less than the sin of pride to pray only for others and never for yourself. These other people need your help, O Lord, but I can make it on my own, thank you!" In the Gospel, the spirit of piety lived not in the people who believed that they didn't need God's help, but in the Roman soldier who saw his own deficiencies and needs, and who approached Christ with the words we repeat every Sunday: "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word, and I shall be healed."

How you pray for yourself does of course matter. You can ask for the strength to bear whatever crosses are before you. You can ask for the gift of a virtue in which you feel deficient. You can offer thanks for the gifts you got yesterday. You can even, mirabile dictu, ask for something you want--so long as you promise not to resent it if that request isn't granted. But whatever you do, remember that by your own lights you aren't going to accomplish very much, and that therefore you need the help that is always at your side. Pray about it.


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