“God listens to the cry of those who invoke Him. Even our reluctant questions, those that remain in the depths of our heart, that we are ashamed to express: the Father listens to them and wishes to give us the Holy Spirit, which inspires every prayer and transforms everything.”
This Sunday, my eight-year-old son Peter was helping me give something out in the back of church after the weekend Masses. Several parishioners who have been keeping him in prayer always delight in seeing him at church and asked him the inevitable question an adult asks a child in the month of December: "What are you asking Santa for this year?" Peter has been consistent in his response since Halloween. He wants to sit under the mistletoe with a very nice young lady from his second grade class. To be clear, he would just like to sit next to her. And to confirm, it’s adorable. The few couples that asked him all had the same reaction - a surprised and impressed chuckle and prayers that he receives that Christmas wish. One older parishioner had a particularly hearty laugh, gave Peter a high five, and said, "Young man, I still don’t know how to ask for what I want. Good for you!"
As I thought about the people’s surprise at Peter’s confidently articulated hope, it reminded me of so many times in life and leadership when I’ve observed others or have been the one myself who has been afraid to really ask for what I wanted. Obviously we always have to be mindful of selfish, inappropriate, or outlandish desires. However, it always boggles my mind when people have reasonable requests and don’t give voice to them, regardless if it’s to their colleagues, friends, or family. Then I read the above quote of the Holy Father, and I was quickly convicted thinking of all the "reluctant questions" I still won't ask God, although He already knows them. What relationship is suffering because we aren’t asking for something that’s important to us? Regardless of if we receive our request, what are the chances we will if we never ask? What part of our pride or vanity or desire to be self-sufficient won't allow us to make our appeal, especially to the Lord? As we continue in expectant hope for our Savior this Advent season, let’s not be afraid to ask for what’s deep in our hearts and remember that God always answers through His presence, regardless of whether there’s mistletoe.