The parable from today's Gospel is strikingly pertinent. In response to circumstances of an unjust judge, Jesus says: "Pray always without becoming weary." St. Luke describes Jesus encouraging persistence in relation to unjust and concerning behavior afoot. Eventually the widow's tired request was heeded, but only after a lifetime of pleading.
Without getting specific, it feels timely that we be reminded to remain vigilant in our prayers that might feel as though they are getting worn and redundant--particularly when the matters are those of great suffering. A quick scroll through the evening news or a Facebook feed will reveal more than a little glimpse into the world's pain.
Too many words can lead to weariness (or perhaps allow us to feel that they are less impactful). We are inundated with them. There is a constant stream of information available, which is simultaneously gift and a heavy burden to carry if we hope to absorb it all. Thankfully we know God is not wearied by the same things we are (Bruce Almighty clip, here). Jesus is asking for vigilance, persistence and our committed efforts to name what it is we see as a hope, a need, a grace; knowing that the very act of naming what it is we need is an intrinsic part of our own relationship with God.
I have heard that bees will work themselves to death, so driven they are to the task of collecting pollen. I witnessed it once. Upon finding a bee with tattered wings on the ground, I attempted to pick her up and place her on a flower. Despite my best efforts, the bee was undeterred. She continued from flower to flower that had already fallen to the ground so as not to be diverted from her task.
This is the message I hear Jesus sharing in Luke's Gospel. "It may feel hopeless. Persist in this vision with a stubborn drive. I will take care of the rest." This kind of prayer might resemble the wingless bee: undeterred and ever hopeful.
A Tired Prayer-
Gracious God, you created this world and every part of it out of love
and I am straining to see with the eyes of love with which you gaze.
My words feel redundant, stale, used up
and yet I hear you coaxing,
inviting me to tell you about the stirrings of my heart.
All that is right,
all that is wrong,
all that I hope to see fulfilled and what that might make of me if I do see--and if I don't.
So again, I lift my tired prayer
to the one who loves my soul
and bring to you my dearest, fiercest, most honest longings