By Dave Coe
Today there are many who are ready to give us advice. The value of this advice ranges from less than worthless to absolutely priceless. God does not give us the time to wade through all of it. So we have to be discerning as we seek out what has lasting value.
Knowing the source of the advice is highly recommended. It can save us invaluable time in separating the chaff from the wheat.
Today I’d like to share with you the advice of Hermas, a former Roman slave who in the first or second century AD wrote The Shepherd, a prophetic and moral tract which had great influence among Christians of his time. His work comes to us by way of Mike Aquilina’s book, A Year with the Church Fathers: Patristic Wisdom for Daily Living.
Let me share with you what he calls “Commandment 9:”
Get rid of all your doubt, and don’t hesitate to ask of the Lord. Don’t say to yourself, “How can I ask of the Lord and receive from him, when I’ve sinned so much against him?” Don’t think that way. With all your heart turn to him and ask of him without doubting. And then you will know the multitude of his tender mercies. You will know that he will never leave you but will fulfill the request of your soul. For he is not like humans, who remember the evils done against them. He himself does not remember evils and has compassion on his own creation. So cleanse your heart of all the worthless things of this world, and from the arguments I mentioned, and ask of the Lord. You will receive all. None of the requests you make to the Lord without doubting will be denied.
Hermas addresses an age-old issue: How can I ask God for anything unless I am worthy? And Hermas answers the inquiry as wise Christians have beginning with Jesus himself: God’s love and mercy trumps everything else. He loves us unconditionally and wants us to turn to him no matter what we’ve done.
It’s a lesson that, sadly, some of us never really learn: God loves us. And God wants to hear from us – no matter who we are or what we’ve done. Lent is a great time to reflect on that. But don’t stop when Lent has ended. Hold the thought and reflect on it every day of the year, every year of your life. God loves you.
If you’re looking for words to use in talking with God, here are some you might adopt as your own little prayer:
Lord Jesus, I open my heart to you to receive your love for me. Please forgive me of all my sins, bringing me close to your most Sacred Heart. Please come into my heart, filling me with your love, Holy Spirit, and with knowledge of your will for me. I pray this prayer not doubting, but with faith and the expectation that you will answer me. Amen.
In closing, let me recommend Aquilina’s book, A Year with the Church Fathers: Patristic Wisdom for Daily Living. (It costs nothing to click on this link and take a closer look.)
God Bless you and yours. May I pray for you? If so, simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.