One of the most difficult and frustrating questions is “Why doesn’t God answer prayers?” It seems that today’s Scriptures assure us that God does! In the Hebrew Scripture reading, God listens to Abraham persuading him not to destroy a sinful city. In the Gospel, we have a double lesson on prayer — first the Our Father, and then also Jesus’ story about the man (the God character) who finally gets up in the middle of the night to give his pesky, pleading neighbor some bread. But wait a minute, we say. Miracles almost never happen. Natural disasters, fatal illnesses, violence and war, famine and negligence wipe us out — despite our insistent prayers for protection and amelioration. Is God asleep? Powerless? Have we done something wrong? We all think this way sometimes. I think Jesus encountered the same frustrating questions as he prayed in the garden. Why was his loving Father letting this happen? His prayer in that garden aligned his will with that of the Father. And so the next day, on the cross, Jesus became the Lord who also has been wiped out, and who understands and walks with us when we are. As we pray, we put our longings and needs into the hands of God and surrender our demands for a different outcome, as Jesus himself did. And so prayer brings us union with this Lord who understands, and so it helps us enter the mystery of suffering and dying which was part of Jesus’ life and is part of ours. By praying well, we choose to welcome good outcomes with thanksgiving if they come or accept with peace other, difficult, outcomes. This is the only answer I have found! How about you?
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia