Emily M. DeArdo

writer

Catholic 101: God is not a vending machine!

Catholic 101Emily DeArdoComment

A continuation of the Catholic 101 series

We sort of cover this when we cover prayer. The kids know that it's important to pray to God for things you want, but I warned them not to treat God like a vending machine--as in, prayer goes in, what you want comes out. 

"If you ask God for a pony for Christmas," I would say, "And you don't get a pony, that doesn't mean God doesn't love you."

We cover this again when we talk about Jesus' works, which is why I'm talking about it today. After we cover the 12 apostles, we discuss Jesus' ministry on Earth before Holy Week. The Beatitudes (we'll talk more about them next week), the parables, and the miracle stories are a big part of this. 

The first year I taught CCD, there was a child in my classroom who was blind. And who had to teach the week we talked about Jesus curing the blind man? Me. So it was really imperative to me that I get across the idea that just because student A was blind, he hadn't: 1) done something wrong, and was being punished by God, and 2) prayed hard enough. 

Student A's blindness is God's will for Him, just like all my stuff is God's will for me. Please, please, please do not tell someone that his circumstances are because he hasn't prayed hard enough, and if he would just pray a little harder, he'd be magically cured!

That's vending machine thinking. 

Now, do miracles exist? Absolutely. Does Jesus tell us to ask for things we want/need? Absolutely. BUT--we also need to consider if what we want is what is best for us. Remember that God sees the whole picture. We see this tiny, tiny little bit of the canvas. 

So while we talk about Jesus' great miracles, and acknowledge the miracles that happen today (I'm sure I've been the recipient of at least one), it is important to remember that prayer is not asking for things--and then getting mad if they don't happen. 

I'm sure most of you have prayed for someone to be healed who eventually died. I know I have. But that didn't mean God was spiting us; He was doing what was best for that said person, even though immeasurable sadness was left behind. 

So, yes, Seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened. But don't just pray to ask for "stuff". 

It sends me up a wall when people say, "If you had more faith you could be healed." What is this faith business in their minds? Some kind of magic formula? ...God is not your personal slot machine! Faith breeds a humility that is willing to accept the truth that he Father has revealed to us through His Son Jesus, knowledge that Christ is the Lord, and a deep realization that within the soul dwells the spirit.
--Mother Angelica, PCPA