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12 October 2017

The Gospel of today’s Mass is from Luke 11:5-13. You know it well, I suspect. Let me quote a small section of it for you.

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.’

‘For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him.’

These words of Jesus are very hopeful, to say the least. Are they perhaps a little “over the top”? I mean, aren’t there a plethora of occasions when you and I have prayed for something and it has not been granted?

Well, it is true, of course, that if we limit ourselves to ask for “things”; for circumstances to change; for events to turn around; then we will be disappointed.

The passage of scripture we are contemplating finishes in this way:

‘If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’

Okay. So there it is. What’s on offer is the Holy Spirit – God himself. God does not want to give just any gift. He wants to give himself.

St. Augustine comments on this particular passage with his usual wisdom:

‘God is much more willing to give, than we are to receive.’

God is God. God is not a puppet that we manipulate with our prayers. No. God is a generous God, desiring to give himself to us.

The question arises, “Am I able to receive such a gift?”

This seems a relatively simple and straightforward question, don’t you think? But I must say when I first read this superb insight by Augustine, I began to think about the “spiritual blockages” present in my life.

How many might there be? What might they be? How might they manifest themselves? Who might know about them besides me?

But not to worry. Despite my inadequacies and blockages, God will breakthrough! After all, “God is much more willing to give, than I am to receive”.

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