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Friends, today’s Gospel urges us to persist in prayer. The Lord wants us to ask with persistence, even stubbornness.

Now, we must not think of God as becoming exasperated by our prayer of petition, but the clear implication is that we will get what we want through persistence: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” 

How do we make sense of this? For me, the best explanation is offered by St. Augustine. He said that God doesn’t always give us immediately what we ask for, and in fact, he compels us to ask again and again. The Lord wants to stretch us, expanding our desire so as to receive the gift he desires to give us. 

If we got everything we wanted, right away and without effort, we wouldn’t appreciate what we’ve received, and we wouldn’t really be capable of taking it in. It would be like pouring new wine into old, shrunken wineskins, resulting in a loss of both the skins and the wine. 

So if the gift doesn’t come right away, don’t despair; rather, feel your very soul expanding in anticipation.