Readings: Esth C:12, 14-16, 23-25; Matt 7:7-12
Scripture: Save us from the hand of our enemies; turn our mourning into gladness and our sorrows into wholeness. (Esth C:25)
Reflection: Although our circumstances surely can’t match those of Queen Esther in today’s first reading, her lament and her prayer certainly sound familiar. Isn’t it amazing how these ancient words can ring true for us even though we are separated by centuries and oceans and death itself? Some things are universal, and although some of us will have easier paths than others, wherever we are on this road through life, we will inevitably be tormented by suffering we cannot bear at some point. Oftentimes we’ll try to fight through that suffering alone, but Esther reminds us that we do not have to do that. Even if we are all alone on this earth, we are never truly alone. God is always with us.
“Turn our mourning into gladness and our sorrows into wholeness,” she prays, as though speaking the words etched on our own hearts. None of us can escape mourning and sorrow, but each of us has a choice about what to do with it and how to face it. Can we turn it over to God and prostrate ourselves before him in complete and utter surrender? Can we, like Esther, ask for the outrageous, the unthinkable, and then wait in trust for the answer to be given? In the gospel, Jesus, too, reminds us that all we need to do is ask, seek, knock, and our heavenly Father will give us every good thing we need.
Meditation: Imagine for a moment that you have the fierce faith of Queen Esther, a prayer warrior if ever there was one. Maybe you already have that kind of unshakable faith. Maybe, like so many of us, you are a little shaky at times when it comes to handing things over to God without reservation. Whatever the case may be, today try to enter the scene in the first reading. Let yourself become part of the story. See yourself with absolute faith in the power of an all-loving God. Now imagine you can take that scene and overlay it on some aspect of your life that requires an extra dose of trust. Let it all go, and rest in God’s embrace.
Prayer: God of abundance, we turn to you today in total surrender. Take our burdens and our fears, our sorrows and our hopes. We trust in your grace, in your mercy, and in your constant presence, even when we feel alone.
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