Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Persistence and Humility

If someone compared me to a dog, then humility would not be my first response. I'd probably yell or insult or try for a roundhouse kick to the head. However, humility is the response of the Canaanite woman in today's Gospel.

Jesus is walking through an area with his disciples and a woman follows them asking for help for her demon "tormented" daughter. Jesus ignores her, the disciples ask Jesus to tell her to leave and she keeps after them. Jesus finally tells her that he didn't come to save her. She worships him and asks for help again. Jesus says that it's not right to give food meant for children to dogs. OUCH! She doesn't slink away or get angry; she simply says that the dogs are allowed to eat the children's scraps. Jesus is impressed by her faith and her daughter is healed.

I've heard some suggest that this woman talked Jesus into recognizing others who needed to be included into the Kingdom.  I don't buy that.  Each time Jesus heals someone there is a lesson to be learned.  Today's lesson: prayer requires persistence and humility.  Jesus doesn't respond right away because he wants to see what she will do.  The Canaanite woman handles the situation with what we would call grace.  She makes her request and continues to repeat her request by acknowledging her smallness compared to Jesus' greatness.  I don't think I would be able to do that after being compared to a dog!

We live in a time of instant everything and I usually expect God to act according to my timeline.  Prayer gives me what I need, not always what I want.  If I can be persistent and humble in prayer, then hopefully I can transition these virtues into my life, even if my prayer is not answered.

And, a Happy Feast Day of St. Dominic to all my Dominican friends!

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