I think today’s Gospel reading from John really sums up what we are experiencing, thinking, feeling, sometimes doubting, and believing in this season of Lent. I honestly believe that it comes at a great time, for it still allows us to take in the idea of what Christ is actually doing for us and the significance it has for our lives.
But as beautiful and relevant as today’s Gospel is, I would like to discuss today’s Psalm: O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
Prayer for me has always has its peaks of change. I remember as a child my parents taught me to say an ensemble of prayers before going to bed each night (the Our Father, the Hail Mary, etc.) followed by my petitions. Looking back on that now, I feel like I was treating God as if he were Santa Claus: God, I want to do well in school tomorrow; God, I need to get an A on this test; God, I must have better friends. It was as if God was nothing but a service provider. Which he is. But he's also so much more.
Prayer for me today has evolved into me actually having a much better understanding of who God is and how he is present in my daily life. I find it kind of funny, actually, because I look at someone as powerful and loving as God (far more than I could even imagine!) but yet it’s as if we talk to each other like we are college buddies. We share a laugh. A joke or two gets exchanged. An inside joke or two gets exchanged. It’s like God is in my fraternity and he knows the escapade of emotions that a college-aged male faces.
And then it comes to the expressing of prayers in my heart. That time where God shows up suited up in the ol' red and white suit we associate with Santa Claus, arriving in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. I think the major problem I had with the 'I need's and 'I want's was that they showed separation between God and I; God had no clue what was going on in my life apparently, so I felt I had to tell him. This is definitely not the case. By recognizing God as a dynamic in a highly personal relationship, God’s integration in my life becomes much more apparent. The I need becomes because you are aware or since you know where I am right now.
During this time in which we reflect on the saving power of Christ’s everlasting love, may we challenge ourselves to focus on understanding where our relationships with God exist. May we have the courage to mend any and all hindrances that have separated such a relationship in the past. May we come to see where God is present in our daily lives. May we recognize how much God is alive in us, just as we are alive in God.