Eucharistic Adoration doesn't come naturally to me; the first few times I went left me feeling like a fake, like I had no idea exactly what do with myself. Over time I learned that bringing others' prayer requests with me, rather only my own concerns, helped. After praying, I turn to one of the books I have set aside for during Adoration. Much of my hour was filled with finishing No Greater Love by Mother Theresa; in fact my promised hour was done by the time I finished it. But instead of leaving, I felt a pull to open up Happy Catholic: Glimpses of God in Everyday Life... by Julie Davis. This was the reflection that I opened to:
Hold On, I Know I've Got a Quarter Here
God is not a vending machine. Joan Kimber
So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron, who accepted their offering, and fashioning this gold with graving tool, made a molten calf. Then they cried out, "This is your God, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt" (Exodus 32:3-4)
The reason the Hebrews demanded a golden calf is largely misunderstood these days. It was not to worship the statue. They wanted to summon him at will to answer their prayers.
It is convenient to look back over the chasm of time, shaking our heads sadly at these willful people. They had Moses in their midst, God's own choice, and they still tried to get their own way.
We would do better to look in the mirror than to "tut-tut" over the Hebrews. We are no better. We don't want to suffer, we know just how to solve this problem if he'd just listen to our prayers, and Lord Almighty, do hurry up, because we surely don't want to wait around!
How limiting this is. It narrows our vision and our recognition of God's plan, which is so much broader than anything we can possibly know. Not only that, we are cutting ourselves off from the surprises he has planned. Those of us who have had any glimpse of the divine plan know that we never would have thought of anything like God's intricate, elegant, multilayered design.
We would do far better to follow the Car Guys' wise advice: "Don't tell the mechanic what to fix. Just tell him the problem, and let him come up with the solution."
That he knows it is enough.
(I can't reccomend this little book more highly, though it doesn't always jump out at me quite this much; in addition to her book, Julie also writes over at Happy Catholic.)
In my earlier prayers, in addition to laying all the requests and intentions at His feet, I had also been asking Why? "Why did You raise a friend's hopes so high just to dash them? Why do You seem to answer some prayers so quickly and easily, while others are left waiting?"
This reflection was just what I needed to hear: God is not a vending machine. We put in our prayers, our hopes, our dreams and cannot know what we will receive; it may be what we asked for, or something else entirely.