At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.” And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?”
It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
A key step in Ignatian prayer is the identification of our deepest desires and naming of a specific grace that we seek from God. Naming our deepest desires requires discernment, honesty, and boldness in prayer. In the first reading from the First Book of Kings, God commended King Solomon for asking for the grace of discerning right from wrong and the wisdom to govern Israel wisely. Solomon did not ask for a long life, riches, or revenge over his enemies. No wonder we call him wise.
If you were to ask God for one and only one thing right now, what would it be? Be honest. Improved health? A long life? More money? An updated smartphone? The return of a prodigal son or daughter to the Church? Or the destruction of an enemy?
The Our Father contains something greater than the Wisdom of Solomon. There we pray first and foremost that God’s kingdom come, God’s will be done. Seek first the kingdom of God and all good things will be given to us at the proper time.
Lord, we beg you for the grace to ask wisely.
—Fr. Ed Witt, SJ, is a member of the Midwest Province and pastor of St. Isaac Jogues Church in Rapid City, SD. Last year the Lord granted his deepest desire that the Chicago Cubs win the World Series!
Our only desire and our one choice should be this:
I want and I choose what better leads
to God’s deepening his life in me.
—First Principle and Foundation, St. Ignatius Loyola as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, SJ