Thursday of the Twenty-SeventhWeek in Ordinary Time
The praise of the insistence
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened …If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him?” Lk 11,5-13
The blacksmith who has a piece of iron to be bent puts it into the fire and, when it turns red, he begins to beat it with a hammer to give it the desired shape. Insisting with our requests has the same effect as the blows of that hammer and, from this standpoint, it has a negative hint because, rather than convincing, it is based on the discomfort it produces. However, insistence is necessary for the fact that people nearly always live within closed doors. “Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up” says the father in today’s parable to the friend who asked to borrow three loaves of bread. What justifies the insistence is its reasons why. Is seems to be unnecessary in evangelization, as the missionary should only sow and it is the Lord who makes the crop grow.
However, a certain insistence emphasizes the importance of the matter. Paul, when he writes to Timothy, therefore says: “Proclaim the word; be present whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching” (2Tm 4, 2). Paul’s exhortation is an call to be never tired of proclaiming the gospel in order to let the locked doors of men open. When we raise our petitions to the Lord, however, we must assume for sure that his doors are always open, otherwise the very concept of God would become invalid. Nevertheless, our petitions are not always fulfilled, because his project is often so important that the Lord cannot afford deviations. A request, which is always accepted though is the one for the Holy Spirit. If we are working for the Lord’s plan, the intervention of the Holy Spirit greatly enhances our ability and success is sure. On the contrary, if we work for our human projects, he abandons them.
This is our experience. Therefore, asking for the Holy Spirit also aims to verify whether our projects are the Lord’s or not.