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The friend asking for loaves and the unjust judge.


"And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth" (Lk. 11:5-8).

"There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" (Lk.18:2-8).

The great persuasion of these parables about the power of prayer is that if a man at midnight helped his friend who asked him about things unimportant and absolutely untimely, then all the more will the Lord help us. In a like manner the judge, though he Ďfeared not God, nor regarded maní, still decided to help the widow so that she would not weary him. All the more, the infinitely Merciful and All-mighty God will give His hoping children what they ask. The key to prayer is constancy and patience, though, when needed, the Lord will comply with a manís request immediately.

"All who wish to know the will of the Lord," wrote St. John of the Ladder, "must first deaden their own will within themselves. Some people proving Godís will free their thoughts from any prejudice to this or that advice of their soul Ö and with earnest prayer they gave the Lord their mind, cleared of their own will, for an appropriate number of days. And they reached knowledge of His will in that the bodiless Intelligence mysteriously talked to their minds, or one of those thoughts absolutely disappeared in the soul Ö Doubts in judgements and long hesitation in choosing one of the two is indicative of a soul vain and not enlightened from above" (Chapter 26).

When the rhythm of life has become so strained and life itself so limitlessly complicated, when the very foundations of faith and morality seem to collapse before our very eyes, more than ever we need Godís guidance and help. Amidst these concerns, prayer will gain for us a great wealth, for it is the key to the great and inexhaustible treasury of Godís gifts. All of us must learn how to use this key!

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