This Advent I want to pray like a heroin addict.
I realize that this statement may require some explanation. On Thanksgiving Day I was eating dinner across from a man and woman at St. Ann’s soup kitchen where we usually help out on Mondays and Wednesdays. As the novice brothers were playing a song in the background with some powerful lines about blessing the Name of the Lord in good times and in bad, I noticed the man quietly singing along with tears in his eyes. After dinner both of them asked for prayer. Both of them are heroin addicts who desperately want to be freed from their slavery to that drug. Both of them were fervent in seeking the Lord’s help, humble in asking pardon, direct in acknowledging their weakness and just so real in their plea for Christ to come and take control of their lives.
How casually most of us usually pray those words in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come.” How will it come? Certainly we must do our part to put the gifts that the Lord has given us at His service, our time and energy into helping others to respond to the gift of salvation. But as the author Carlo Caretto points out, the Kingdom of God is not brought about so much by great feats of the intellect or displays of strength or other resources. If that were so, then the Kingdom of God would belong primarily to the strong and the wealthy. Rather, the Kingdom of God is brought about primarily by the heartfelt cry to the poor man who puts his whole being into the prayer “Thy Kingdom come! Come Lord and save us!” Indeed the first Beatitude promises the Kingdom of God first to the poor in spirit, and what they are awarded because of the depth of their longing they win not only for themselves, but for the rest of the Church and the world.
The beginning of Advent and a new Church year is a good time to begin again with a real, heartfelt, wide-awake prayer for Jesus to save us who are all addicted to sin, but who trust in His power to save. Please pray for heroin addicts in particular when you lift up your heart with them and plead with real intensity, “Come Lord Jesus!”
Fr. Richard Roemer, CFR
(re-posted from November 29, 2005)