In today’s readings we have two descriptions of constant pleading. In the first reading, we have Moses in constant outstretched-arm-prayer while the Israelites battle Amalek’s army, prevailing only so long as Moses arms are in a constantly outstretched position. In the gospel, we have a widow who is constant in her pleading before an unjust judge, who finally gives in because of her persistence.
According to Webster’s dictionary, to be constant is to be “marked by firm steadfast resolution or faithfulness: exhibiting constancy of mind or attachment.” Constant prayer and supplication before God is the quality that is lifted up in today’s scripture. Constant is like the waves of the sea with their steadfast, resolute pounding of the shore. It is part of the nature of the sea, for the waves to ebb and flow in and out causing a constant pulsing of energy and life. Like the waves, our prayer is to be constant, steady; part of the ebb and flow of our lives. But our readings for today raise a few questions about that. What happens if we grow weary like Moses did? Moses had Aaron and Hur to help him out. Who do we have to help us in our lives of prayer? And how is it that an unjust judge, can act justly for this widow?
Despite these questions, to think that our prayer must be perfect is to miss the point. The psalm informs us that “our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” In other words, the Lord will provide what we need, even in our prayer, even if our prayer is imperfect. The point of the Gospel parable is, that if an unjust judge can give something good to the widow, how much more would an all loving God give good things to us? God will be our “guard” and give us what we need.
What we need is to remain constant, like the surf. We must be steady in our desire for God, in our desire to know God and in our desire be one with God. It is this constancy of faith, this steadfastness of the ebb and flow of our prayer, however broken or propped up, that is pleasing to our God.
And so we can ask ourselves, How constant is our attention and to God in the ebb and flow of our lives? Do we have patience as we call on the help of our God, or do we grow weary? Do we have faith and trust that God will support us with what we need?