When my first child was born, I as a young father, was overwhelmed by how much I loved him. I couldn't get over how strong in the very first moments of his life was my desire to love, protect, and provide for him. In those initial months and years, I was overcome with the strength of my feelings for him. Then, as we approached the birth of our second child, I was uneasy about my feelings: “how could I possible love her (it was to be a girl), as much as I loved him; there’s no way, I thought, I could have all those strong feelings? However, after she was born, I realized that my feelings for her were the same…I learned that I did not have to divide my love or love one less than the other. It was just there, already “packaged” for me in my daughter as it was in my son. Today, I reflect on those early years of parenting, in which I was only a hare’s breath from being a child myself and wonder about how much greater is the love of God.
In our Gospel (Luke 11:1-13), Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray. Over the years I’m sure his lesson has created considerable controversy and raised much doubt about all prayers being answered: So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is this really true?
Our children can provide a unique perspective on our relationship with God. Over the years, my children would ask for many things. All requests were heard and I know all their requests were answered. In some cases they received what they asked for; in others they did not. Many times my alternate suggestion, which they resisted at the time, tuned out to be even better than what they had originally requested. I don’t remember ever not listening to their request, despite how outlandish in some cases, I thought they were. I don’t remember not answering them one way or another. Even when they were denied I listened and our love for each other never suffered despite some difficult encounters.
Children can provide a unique perspective on prayer and our relationship with God. Luke’s Gospel prompts me to think if this is the way it is with us, imagine how it is with God?
If you then...know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?