24 February 2010

Lenten Reflection 4: asking and seeking

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find. . ."

No doubt Jesus intended this teaching to be comforting.  He is reassuring us that all we need, all we seek will be provided if we but ask.  However, the assumption of this teaching is that we know what we need, that we want what we seek after.  Is this true?  Do we know what we need?  Do we really want what we seek?  If we limit ourselves to asking for the daily basics (food, etc.), then there's not much to worry about here.  But what if we already have the basics and believe that we need more, or that we need something else?  How can we be sure that what we are asking for is really a need not just a want?  How can we be sure that what we seek is really worthy of having? 

The key to knowing what to ask for, what to seek after is this:  will what I ask for/seek after help me to serve God by serving His people?  Any gift we receive from the Father is given to us so that our service might be fruitful.  For example, in the Dominican Order, we study, pray, live in community, and follow the evangelical counsels for one reason only:  to be better preachers.  Study is never an end in itself, but simply a means to achieve the goal of preaching the gospel.  So, when you ask, when you seek, discern the purpose of what you ask for/seek after.  If that purpose is the glory of God and service to His Church, then ask, seek. . .you will receive and find.

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