Can you recall a time in your life where you were compelled toward someone or something in a deep, perhaps even unexplainable or inescapable way? Maybe you’ve made a life decision about a job, or a house, or a move, and it was a choice that was motivated from somewhere deep inside of you, a choice where in that moment you knew it wasn’t really a choice because you were so compelled toward this decision that it was impossible for you to do otherwise.
Maybe that’s how you felt, and have felt, about a spouse, or loved one. Maybe it’s how you’ve felt about a child. Maybe you can recall a time seeing someone in need and you felt so drawn to help that you were willing to go to the end of your own resources to aid them.
I trust and I hope that each of us can recall such a moment in our lives, although I’m sure we could admit such moments are rarer than we would like.
I had one such moment myself the other night. It has been our recent practice to leave the light on in our sons’ bedroom at night so our oldest can read until he falls asleep. When I went in to turn out the light, I was overtaken with a sense of awe as I watched my boys sleep. I stood and watched them sleeping for a few minutes. I knew from deep down in my gut that I would do anything for them.
Such moments in my life are characterized by a magnetic force from deep down inside of me that drew me toward a person or action in a way I could not resist.
This is the level of compassion which is characteristic of our Lord. However, unlike our fleeting desires and convictions, the deep well of Christ’s compassion never runs dry. Continue Reading
When I was a child, I prayed like this: “God, if you answer this prayer in the way that I want, I promise I will do whatever you want.” Most of the time, my prayers were over something petty, such as getting over an upset stomach. But it wasn’t so much as what I was praying for that was the problem, it was the basis for which I thought I would be heard. Prayer was a one-way street where I could somehow manipulate God into giving me what I wanted if I said or did the right thing.
As adults, I’m sure few of us are as naïve to pray prayers like I did as a child. Surely we know that a vow to God to “never sin again” or “do whatever you ask” if he answers us is an empty prayer at best and self-delusion at worst. And yet I think we often fall into similar errors of basing the effectiveness of our prayer on ourselves. When we don’t think we have been heard, or that our prayers have not been answered to our liking, we are prone to look inward with a posture of defeat. If only we had done or said more, perhaps God would have heard and answered our prayer. Continue Reading