In these days of pandemic in whom do the people of the world have confidence? In what do they trust? Obviously, they trust in the scientists, the medical teams, the people who care for them when they are sick, and the government and authorities. Ultimately, people believe that when the vaccine comes, all will be well. Then people visualise ‘getting back to normal.’ Of late, this phrase changes to ‘the new normal.’ One thing is sure; there is no going back.
In her situation, Queen Esther put her total confidence in God. She ‘took refuge with the Lord.’
The first reading proclaimed at Mass today (Esther 4:17) shows Queen Esther’s practicality to do what was right. However, above all, she had complete trust and confidence in God. There is something real and heartfelt about her prayer to God. She is not putting on a show or showing pretence. There is nothing fake about her. When Esther prayed, she poured her whole heart into her prayer. She recognised her aloneness before God. She said, ‘come to my help, for I am alone.’ Esther was true to herself. She was truly dependent on God, ‘I am alone and have no helper but you.’ Queen Esther trusted God from her ‘earliest years’ and understood that her ancestors trusted God’s goodness and saving help. In her prayer, Esther knows what she needs. She asks for ‘courage’ to face the challenge that lies ahead of her.
Queen Esther’s prayer is a great model for prayer. God understands Esther’s prayer and God understands our prayer. God accepts that at times when we come to pray we are distracted, confused, absent, tired and disinterested. At other times, we are alert, content and fully aware of God’s presence. Whatever way we come to God ‘we come as we are’ knowing, believing and trusting that God loves us unconditionally.
The Psalm proclaimed at Mass (Psalm 137) proclaims the gratitude of the psalmist. The psalmist says, ‘I thank you Lord, with all my heart.’ Again, he has complete trust in God. He is confident of ‘his faithfulness and love’ and all that entails. This brings a sense of joy and assurance to God’s people as they take time to reflect. To say thank you is a very important part of prayer.
The Gospel (Mt 7:7-12) also assures the faithful of God’s steadfastness. Jesus taught the disciples to pray, asking, searching and knocking on the door. God knows all we need even if we do not know ourselves. When we pray we talk to God. We thank God, we ask him for what we need, we say sorry and we tell him that we love him. God listens to our prayers and knows what is best for us. We believe that when we say, ‘I believe in God.’
There is great hope expressed in the readings today. So in addition to the hope we put into receiving the vaccine and the further research of the scientists to eradicate the Covid-19, let us firstly place our trust in God. We also can ask Mary, Mother of God to intercede for us with God. Mary wants to do this for us but we must ask her. Mary had great confidence in God. She thanked God in her Magnificat prayer for his goodness to her.
Prayer is an integral part of the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé Religious Education programme for Catholic primary schools. VERITAS publications grants free access to all their resources. There are a vast amount of resources available on the theme of prayer including all the formal prayers and the Prayers of the Mass in the Children’s Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé e-book.
- Our Father/ An Phaidir
- Hail Mary/ Sé do bheatha a Mhuire
- The Magnificat
- Chat to a member of you family about praying to God. Chat in your own words or say a prayer together. Is there anything for which your family would like to say thanks?
- Have you a favourite prayer to say? Write it on a sheet of paper and decorate it. Display it in your home where members of your family can see it.
- You might like to give thanks to God by watching Mass on the webcam today from your parish or from any other parish throughout the world.
Sr Anne Neylon