At the balloon festival, I saw a small child wander away from her family. She was adventuresome and having a great time. Suddenly, she looked around and saw only strangers. The joy in her face turned to fear, then to panic. She screamed and started to cry. Her mother was there in a few seconds. It seems that she wandered away from mom, but mom did not get far away from her. The lesson was learned. This little girl should not get too far away. She needs mom. She is dependent.
We all admit our dependence upon God, but in our world, when and how do we experience that dependence. And nothing is real, until it happens to you. So, it seems to me that I live in a world where everyone believes that they depend upon God, and few people find that fact very real in their lives. Nothing is real until it happens. We have become prosperous enough to hold off all the unpleasant realities and thereby avoid the experience of our dependence upon God. We depend on our income, our insurance plan, our health care system, our retirement preparations. We depend on ourselves. Disaster can strike, and does, but not too often and hopefully, not to us.
So how do we experience our dependence? When was the last time you had such an experience? It is not a frequent happening in our world. How can we bring this about? We really do not want to look for a way to get an exotic disease, so as to experience our dependence. Can we find a way in our world to experience who we are, to know who we are, and to know truly who God it? Then, we would know what our relationship is. We would know that it is not a relationship between equals.
I think ambitious prayer can give us that experience of who we are and who God is. I say ambitious prayer because we must be trying to achieve something precious, something only God can give. Intimacy with God is that precious something. We cannot earn this or work for it. It is God’s gift. We depend upon Him to give.
If we only want the minimum from life, we may make it alone. If we are ambitious, we will need to depend upon God. We need this experience. It is either get deep into prayer, or get lost at the balloon festival.
Fr. James O'Leary