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The art of holy insistence

October 9, 2022

YES, there is such thing as the art of holy insistence. This was shown, for example, in that story Christ told his disciples about someone who went to his friend-store-owner in the middle of the night asking for bread because a friend of his just arrived and was hungry. He was refused at first by the store-owner, but due to his insistence, he was given what he asked for. (cfr. Lk 11,5-13)

The lesson Christ wanted to impart to his disciples in this particular gospel is encapsulated in these words of his: “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.”

And the reason why such insistence is recommended is because God is always a father who can never be indifferent to the needs of men. He may ask us for some requirements or choose to test us for a time, but he in the end will always give what is best for us. This point was articulated by Christ in a most dramatic way when he said:

“What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? 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?”

This truth of our faith is also highlighted in that gospel episode about a Canaanite woman who begged Christ to drive the demon that vexed her daughter. (cfr. Mt 15,21-18) Christ at first did not respond favorably. He even sounded harsh on her. But due to the faith-driven insistence of the woman, Christ finally gave in.

We should just be insistent in our petitions to God. No matter how hard or even impossible our requests would seem, we should not hesitate to go to God to present such petition. God will always listen and answers us in the way that is best for us, which may not be the one we like or expect.

We should never think that we are bothering God by asking for some favors. Our prayers will never go unnoticed with God who is all generous with us. In fact, he will give us much more than what we may be asking for.

So, let’s just be insistent and persevering in our prayer. Besides, doing so will eventually give us new lights, insights and impulses that will leave us amazed at the goodness and kindness of God, his mercy and all-embracing love. It will rekindle or at least fan into a flame our dying fire of love for God and for others.

When we persevere in meditating on the words of God found in the gospel, for example, we would be astonished at how old familiar passages and ideas acquire new meaning and open to us practically a whole new world of insights that can inspire us to action and different initiatives.

And if God seems to ignore us, we have to realize that he is simply testing us for a number of reasons – to strengthen our faith, to purify our intentions, to grow in the other virtues, etc.