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Thursday, first week of Lent

March 1, 2012

Blessed Thursday!

Bestow on us, we pray, O Lord,
a spirit of always pondering on what is right
and of hastening to carry it out,
and, since without You we cannot exist,
may we be enabled to live according to Your will.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
(Opening prayer from Mass)

Readings:
Esther C 12, 14-16, 23-25 (Esther’s prayer for help)
Psalm 138: 1-8 “Lord, on the day I called for help, You answered me”
+Matthew 7:7-12 (God gives good gifts to those who ask)

God can’t resist our confidence in Him.

It steals His Heart,
the way the expectant confidence of a small child
steals the heart of his father
inspiring in him unprecedented greatness.

Queen Esther, flat on her face in mortal anguish,
stole God’s heart with her repeated plea,

Help me, who am alone and have no help but You, O Lord my God
-Esther C:25

Her life was at stake, as were the lives of her fellow Jews,
hanging on the murderous envy of the wicked Haman,
second in command of the kingdom where she was in exile.

She laid before God her own helplessness
and His record of helpfulness on her forefathers’ behalf.
She sought no sign, nor heard any response,
but simply stepped out in faith
placing her life in God’s mighty hands.

At the same time, she exercised a great deal of prudence,
making herself as winsome as possible
and whetting the king’s curiosity by deferring her request
(we can learn from that too!).

Through her helpless confidence, God triumphed.

Not only were Esther and her people spared, but

many of the peoples of the land embraced Judaism,
for they were seized with a fear of the Jews
-Esther 8:17

Truth–with a capital “T”–prevailed!
Pagans were converted to the one, true God!

Our Psalm joyfully, confidently gives God credit for His victory.

When I called, You answered me;
You built up strength within me
-Psalm 138:3

We would do well to follow the Psalmist’s example:

Gratitude for graces received
is a most efficacious means of obtaining new ones.
-St. Vincent de Paul

Jesus urges us to have Queen Esther’s confidence.

Ask and it will be given to you…
If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask Him.
-Matthew 7:7, 11

God, our Father, is good!
He loves to give us good things!
Our confident dependence on Him opens His hands.

Are there any situations in your life that seem so impossible
that it hasn’t even occurred to you to ask God for help?
Queen Esther stirred up her confidence in God by reminding Him of His faithfulness in the past.
How has God worked in your history? Do you still thank and praise Him for those benefits?
How can you use those memories to increase your confidence in prayer today?
Imagine (or witness, if you can!) the confidence of a small child in an adult.
and let that image inspire your confidence in God.

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