That’s what Solomon asked God for in the first reading. He sought an understanding heart to tell right from wrong as he governed his people. God was pleased with the request and promised many other things to Solomon as well. I may not be the ruler of a kingdom, but I, too, pray for an understanding heart: To be forgiving, to be strict, to see beyond the facades of anger or humor or sarcasm that mask true feelings of fear or inadequacy or confusion.
Along with that understanding heart, I also ask God for patience and strength. In the Gospel, Jesus tells the apostles to come away in a boat to find a place to rest awhile. But the people figure out where boat is going and got there beforehand. Mark tells us Jesus saw a people who were like sheep without a shepherd and began to teach them. So much for the time away to rest awhile. Sometimes we have to keep going, to keep our hearts open and understanding.
I also thank God for those people whose understanding hearts have helped me see the right path. I am indebted beyond measure to those who help me when I am struggling.
Today is also the feast of Saint Paul Miki, a Jesuit martyr, and his companions. He and his 25 companions were put to death in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1597. According to Loyolapress.com, “he forgave his persecutors from his cross and told the people to ask Christ to show them how to be truly happy.” Saint Paul Miki’s advice to those Christians resonates today. We need to look inside and ask God what we really need to be truly happy.
Lord, grant me an understanding heart and the patience and strength to make the right decisions and carry through with them.
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