Last Sunday's parable of the widow and the unjust judge was a call to diligent prayer. The widow's persistence wore down the judge's resistence. This Sunday, the parable of the Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18: 9-14) illustrates how we should pray: with humility. Here is part of a commentary by St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria from 412 to 444 AD:
|The Pharisee and the Publican, unidentified manuscript|
But what of the publican? He stood, it says, “afar off,” not even venturing, so to speak, to raise up his eyes on high. You see him abstaining from all boldness of speech, as having no right thereto, and smitten by the reproaches of conscience: for he was afraid of being even seen by God, as one who had been careless of His laws, and had led an unchaste and dissolute life.... And what is the result? Let us hear what the Judge says, “This man, He says, went down to his house justified rather than the other.”
Let us therefore “pray without ceasing,” according to the expression of the blessed Paul: but let us be careful to do so aright.... Yes, though you lead an excellent and elect life, don't exact wages from the Lord; but rather ask of Him a gift. As being good, He will promise it you: as a loving Father, He will aid you.