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Dominica V post Pascha

Latin Mass 2018  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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LESSON: Asking in Jesus’ Name

As we come closer to Pentecost and the end of the Easter season, the Church brings us back to the Last Supper with today's Gospel passage.
The moment is solemn.
Jesus is at table with his intimate collaborators, his handpicked Twelve Apostles.
He knows that this is the last time they will be gathered in this way until they meet again in eternity.
Nothing is carelessly said.
Everyone on their deathbed has their final words, their legacy: these are the Lord's final words.
So, he makes his Apostles a promise, a promise that is given not only to them, but to all who would hear his words down through the centuries.

Amen, amen, I say to you: if you ask the Father any thing in my name, he will give it you.

24 Hitherto, you have not asked any thing in my name. Ask, and you shall receive; that your joy may be full.

If we ask the Father for anything in Jesus name it will be granted to us.
But if I stand here and say, “In Jesus name, I ask for a Rolls Royce and a Billion Dollars” a truck is not going to pull up in front of the church and start unloading my car and my money.
Why? Because asking for something ‘In Jesus’ Name’ is not quite as simple as that.
As St. Augustine reminds us, it is not about speaking Our Lord’s name on our lips, but about being in perfect union with him in our hearts.
If I ask for frivolous things, if I ask for useless things, and most especially if I ask for evil things, I am doing it in my name, not in Christ’s.
To ask in Christ’s name, I must unite my will to his, and ask for those things that he wills for my good.

ILLUSTRATION: A poor man teaches the way

One of the best short treatises on uniting our will to Christ’s comes from the “Moral Doctor”, St. Alphonsus Liguori. In it, he gives a number of examples of those who achieved this union, and the transformative effect it had on their spiritual lives. Here is but one example:
The devout Father John Tauler related this personal experience:
For years he had prayed God to send him someone who would teach him the real spiritual life.
One day, at prayer, he heard a voice saying: "Go to such and such a church and you will have the answer to your prayers."
He went and at the door of the church he found a beggar, barefooted and in rags. He greeted the mendicant saying: "Good day, my friend."
"Thank you, sir, for your kind wishes, but I do not recall ever having had a 'bad' day."
"Then God has certainly given you a very happy life."
"That is very true, sir. I have never been unhappy. In saying this I am not making any rash statement either.
This is the reason: When I have nothing to eat, I give thanks to God; when it rains or snows, I bless God's providence;
when someone insults me, drives me away, or otherwise mistreats me, I give glory to God.
I said I've never had an unhappy day, and it's the truth, because I am accustomed to will unreservedly what God wills.
Whatever happens to me, sweet or bitter, I gladly receive from his hands as what is best for me. Hence my unvarying happiness."
"Where did you find God?" "I found him where I left creatures."
"Who are you anyway?" "I am a king."
"And where is your kingdom?" "In my soul, where everything is in good order; where the passions obey reason, and reason obeys God."
"How have you come to such a state of perfection?" "By silence. I practice silence towards men, while I cultivate the habit of speaking with God.
Conversing with God is the way I found and maintain my peace of soul."
By learning to unite his will with Christ’s, and by desiring for himself only those things that God desired for him, this poor man knew the true joy that Christ promised.

APPLICATION: Uniting our will to Christ’s

Now this may seem all well and good, but we might be wondering just how to go about conforming our will to Christ’s.
Again, St. Alphonsus offers some insights.
First, as with anything in the Spiritual Life, we must pray.
We must direct all of our prayers to this end, begging God constantly in our time of Meditation,
making Fervent Communions for this intention,
and visiting the Blessed Sacrament as often as we can, asking Christ to help us accomplish his holy will.
But beyond prayer, we simply have to practice, and train ourselves to accept God’s will in everything.
When we find it too hot, or too cold, when tragedies befall us, refrain from complaining, instead tell ourselves that things are just as God wants them.
In personal matters, in hunger, thirst, poverty, desolation, loss of reputation, remind ourselves that God has willed everything for the good of my soul and my salvation.
In infirmity or sickness, we should try to embrace them as God’s will for us.
St. John of Avila once wrote to a sick priest: “My dear friend, -- Do not weary yourself planning what you would do if you were well, but be content to be sick for as long as God wishes. If you are seeking to carry out God's will, what difference should it make to you whether you are sick or well?”
Just as we could never run a marathon without training ourselves for months beforehand, we cannot expect to unite our will with Christ’s if we do not train ourselves constantly to do so.
In a few minutes Christ will once again offer Himself on the altar, the sacrifice in which his will was perfectly united to his Father’s.
When we receive him in Holy Communion, let us ask him to help us unite our wills to his. So that whatever we ask in his name make be given to us, and our joy may be full.
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