Lately, I have been praying for my vocation as well as other things and like some other people, I imagine, I wondered if all of my prayers are heard. Of course, I know the answer to this is 'yes' but I sometimes find these questions popping into my head and I feel the need to search for an answer!
God has so many prayers to hear and we often desire an answer. Whilst this question is okay to wonder on a theological level, I know I have to be careful that I don't allow Satan to convince me that God doesn't hear my prayers...he will do anything to prise us away from the One who loves us and convince us that our efforts are in vain.
So, I did a bit of research online and came across this parable:
A small village in Rural Russia was beset by drought one year and all the crops failed. The village rabbi prayed to the heavens, "Why don't you do something about this dreadful drought?" But the heavens remained silent. So the rabbi organized a charity food drive with the neighboring villages to feed his people.
When the rains came, they came in heavy and the local river flooded, killing all the livestock. The rabbi again prayed, "Heavenly Father, my people are suffering so much, save us from this flood!" But, again, no help from God seemed forthcoming. So the rabbi lobbied the government authorities to provide financial assistance to replenish the herds lost in the deluge.
Finally, in the wake of the flood, infection and disease ran through the inhabitants of the village. The rabbi prayed once more, "Now surely God you will help us!" But the diseases ran their course. So the rabbi Marshalled and organized the able bodied in the village to care for the sick.
Months later reflecting on the tragedies of the past year, the rabbi turned to God and accused Him, "Why did you not answer the prayers of my poor villagers? Why did you not send help to them when we were beset by drought, floods and pestilence?"
After many hours of anguished entreaty, a quiet voice answered the rabbi in the depths of his heart, "Of course I sent help; I sent you!"
And so, of course God hears all our prayers! His ability is beyond anything we can imagine, for He created the universe. Whilst we can only do one or two things at once, His power and ability is infinite. He might not give us the answer we expect, but He always provides one. He knows what we desire even before we have asked for it and we need to put our trust in Him, that He knows what is best for us. Sometimes, we feel He hasn't answered us because we don't get what we want, but if we truly love and trust Him, then we must surrender to His Will. This is how we can show our love for Him.
Sometimes, it can be hard to pray, so imagine Jesus sat next to you, or stood watching over you. He loves you more than you can imagine! Call Him and ask to feel His presence. Then speak to Him like your dear Friend. A priest told me to tell Jesus about my day and also said that "He wants to make you his home". Invite Jesus into your heart and look to Him in every aspect of your life. Saint Therese said "Keep your eyes on Jesus, for he never takes his eyes off you."
Sometimes, we think we have no time to pray. This is sad and we must remember that Jesus gave His life for us and He would like nothing more than our love in order to comfort Him. Poor Jesus, the sorrow He feels from our sins is so great...can we not spare Him a few moments to offer Him comfort? Imagine Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane; He is lonely and has no one kept watch with Him. No one is there to comfort Him in His Agony before His death. Be His comfort and simply tell Him, "Jesus, I love you."
No matter what we ask for in our prayers, we should only seek that his Will be done and we must trust that He answers all our prayers, whatever the answer is. For me, I will go to Carmel with an open heart and if I am meant to be a Carmelite, then I pray I will embrace His calling generously. If not, then I pray God will show me the path He wishes me to take.
- Carmelite Aspirant
- I've just turned 27 and am entering Carmel on 24th January 2009. My first full day will be on 25th January, the Conversion of Saint Paul, of whose year this is and whose school I went to and sisters I loved. So I am depending on him to help convert me into a good Carmelite! I've wanted to become a nun on and off since the age of 11. Although I can't remember the moment I felt drawn to Carmel, I think it was partly because of reading about St Therese when I was 11 or 12. I feel I may have a natural inclination towards this way of life, altough getting up at 5.30 will not feel natural, I'm sure! I spent 2 weeks as an Aspirant in October 2008 and I loved it and came back feeling that I should go back and see if becoming a Carmelite is the Will of God and my route to holiness.