Unheralded Virtues

(This article courtesy of the Arlington Catholic Herald.)

But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her. Jesus' disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And the woman's daughter was healed from that hour.”

Faith — she knew that Christ, and only Christ, could handle the situation and heal her daughter. She cried out for Him. While the disciples milled around, she continued to address Christ, as He was the Lord.

Patience — as the disciples complained to Christ to send her away she remained undaunted in her attempts to reach Him. Rebuffed by the disciples, she would not relent and head home. She bided her time and waited for the Lord to address her.

Humility — one word describes this dialogue between the woman and Christ: mordacious. Jesus compares her to a dog, and she replies satisfactorily. The biting comment of Christ does not take her down, depress her or send her reeling. She accepts the comparison and embraces the degradation. In doing so, she not only saves her daughter, but receives the admirable comment “O woman, how great is your faith!”

What an outstanding model for prayer life. The first step is to faithfully send the supplication up to heaven. If for one second you don't think anyone is listening, forget about it. The prayer needs to be made confidently. You must believe that you are imploring almighty God to listen to your prayer. The second step is patience. God may wait for a while to answer. Or He might answer right away, but it will be done according to His temporal wishes, not yours. Do not be disappointed if He decides to delay the response a while. The third step is humility. The answer you expect is not always the answer you get. God may ask you to do something you might not like, but that's the way it needs to be done.

Faith, patience and humility. Three steps to a successful life of prayer. Skipping any of the steps can doom your prayer. So, adhere to this great example of the Canaanite woman, and you to can hear those gratifying words of Christ, “Let it be done as you wish.”

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