Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

The intercessory prayer

Then he returned to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, who was near death. Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” The royal official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.”  The man believed what Jesus said to him and left. While he was on his way back, his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live. He asked them when he began to recover. They told him, “The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon.” The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live,” and he and his whole household came to believe. Jn 4,46-53

“You may go; your son will live” Jesus answers and the father returns home confident. This scene, in its simplicity, shows throughout all the healing power of Jesus, who operates all the times when we pray for the recovery of someone, being him a son, a friend or someone who does not love us. In the latter case, the prayer is almost always granted, because, as well as on the faith, it is based also on our forgiveness. The Lord always hears the prayers addressed to him, but sometimes it happens that these are not answered: it means that his project is bigger and more far-sighted than our request. The evangelist John says: “And we have this confidence in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours” (1Jn 5,14-15). The intercessory prayer, in other words, protects us from the temptations of the devil, which is the cause of all our evils, but it must be intimately open to accept the Lord’s will. This is the condition  by the evangelist John: the demand, to be heard, must be “according to his will”. It seems to us, however, that his desire to hear us is so great that sometimes the Lord has even put in place a change of his plans. Our prayer can get this too, because a father, when he can, always changes his plans to fulfill the demands of a son. Sometimes, however, it can happen that the Lord’s plan is so great such that to have no alternative; hence, we have to accept it and by accepting we are going to take a share of it. The only sure thing is that we must ask, always, because through the requests for intercession our faith is actualized. After receiving the requested grace, we must, however, to take a leap in the faith, as that father does in the today’s gospel, who “he and his whole household came to believe”. This is what the Lord expects from us. 

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