By: Ivonne J. Hernandez
In the passage above, St. Paul is asking the Father that you and I “may be filled with all the fullness of God.” This is a very bold prayer. It reminds me of the words the priest says before the “Our Father” during Mass: “At the Savior's command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say…Our Father…”. We dare to call God our Father. And St. Paul dares to ask that we be “filled with all the fullness of God.” This boldness comes from the same place, divine teaching. It is with this understanding, that St. Paul kneels before the Father, and pleads on our behalf. Before he asks for the ultimate gift for us, the fullness of God, he asks that we “may have strength to comprehend...and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” Why would we need strength for this? And why is this strength we need so great that it is to come from His very own Spirit? When I ponder on these questions, I remember the following story about St. Augustine:
Sometimes, in prayer, I get a glimpse of what it means to have the Most Holy Trinity dwelling in me, and it is more than I can take. I sit there for a little while, but then I see my faults, my sin, my unworthiness, and I leave. I fill my mind with all the things I need to do and take care of, and I avert my eyes from the gaze of my Father.
Yes, it takes strength to allow yourself to be seen, to allow yourself to be loved. The enemy of your soul does not want you to remain in that place. He wants you to be filled with fear, rather than with love. Be bold and reject the lies. ‘For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!”’ (Rom 8:15)
I have often pondered on the fact that everything I have, every grace I have been open to receive, would not have been if it hadn’t been for the prayers others have offered on my behalf, especially the prayers from my parents and grandparents. It is good to remember that the saints in Heaven are always praying on our behalf, and that St. Paul right now is kneeling before Our Father, asking “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”
It is because of this faith that I can offer prayers for my children, and for all ancestors and any future descendants on my family tree. I believe that the Blood of Christ that runs through my veins can flow through the branches of this tree, as long as we remain on the vine. I pray for each branch, each leaf, especially those that are not bearing fruit and are in danger of being cutoff. I pray that through my prayers, the sap of the vine can reach them and strengthen them, so that each branch can be open to the flow of grace and be full of life, of love. I pray that each one of them “rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”