One of our faithful chaplains loves to tell us the story of a school bus that a local high school uses to take their athletes to away games. One year it was dubious as to whether or not the legendary school bus would pass its annual inspection. The athletic director, not having extra money in his budget, spoke to the mechanic about how much it would cost to make the "bare minimum" number of repairs to get through inspection. When word got out that the school bus was in danger of not passing inspection, a very generous parent (of an athlete) offered to pay to repair the school bus. On hearing the good news, the athletic director responded, "That would be wonderful. We need new brakes, a new exhaust system, the air conditioner hasn't worked in a few years and while we're at it. . . ." When it was no longer on his budget, the athletic director listed many things that he would like to have repaired on the school bus. And so it is with the Lord -- our chaplain reminds us -- it is He who gives his gifts to us. We learn in today's Gospel that the Lord "does not ration his gift of the Spirit." When we ask the Lord for graces that we need we should not ask as though it were up to us to "pay the bill" -- so to speak. We should ask freely for all the graces we need and we should trust that he who does not ration His gifts, He who cannot be outdone in generosity, will be lavish in His response. One example might look like this: "Lord, please help me to smile at so-and-so at work. I have such a hard time getting along with him, help me to smile today." That might be okay if we ourselves are "paying the bill" because a smile might be all we can muster if it were up to us. When we're riding on the Holy Spirit's bus ticket we can say, "Lord, I can't stand to look at so-and-so; please give me the grace to reach out to him in love...not just a smile but a kind word or even a kind gesture."
"Between meditation and contemplation there is the prayer of petition . . . . True prayers of petition are made by grace -- when we ask for something which is not due us at all, and when we ask it of someone who is far superior to us, as God is."
St. Francis de Sales
St. Francis de Sales