LENT, Week 1: Thursday

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7.)

Saint Augustine of Hippo comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“But when the precept was given that a holy thing should not be given to dogs and that pearls should not be cast before swine, questions abound. Mindful of our own ignorance and frailty and hearing it prescribed that we are not to give away something that we have not yet received, we might therefore ask, “What holy thing do you forbid me to give to dogs, and what pearls do you forbid me to cast before swine? For I do not see that I have as yet received them.” Most aptly, then, did the Lord go on to say, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and one who seeks finds; and to one who knocks, it shall be opened.” The asking refers to obtaining soundness and strength of mind through prayer, in order that we may be able to fulfill the precepts that are being given. The seeking refers to finding truth. For the blessed life is made up of acting and knowing. Action requires a store of strength, while contemplation requires the manifestation of truths. Of these two, we are to ask for the first and we are to seek for the other in order that the one may be given and that the other may be found. In this life, however, knowledge consists in knowing the way toward that blessedness rather than in possessing it. But when anyone has found the true way, that one will arrive at that possession. As for you, it is to one who knocks that the door is opened. In order that these three things — the asking, the seeking and the knocking — may be illustrated by an example, let us consider the case of one who is unable to walk because of weak limbs. Of course, such a one must first be healed and strengthened for walking. Hence the Lord said, “Ask.”” (Sermon on the Mount, 2.)

Bestow on us, we pray, O Lord,
a spirit of always pondering on what is right
and of hastening to carry it out,
and, since without you we cannot exist,
may we be enabled to live according to your will.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen