i used to not understand it. from a young age, i was taught to pray hard.
when my father died at 42 and i was 10, my grandparents (mother side) moved into our house for a year to keep us company and lend us moral support. very religious and holy people, my grandpa and grandma would wake us up at 4 a.m. to pray for the soul of my father. then, we would go straight to hear mass at 5:30 before attending school. it was tough for young kids but we managed.
that experience inculcated upon our minds that when we wanted something from God, we sacrificed and prayed hard for it.
now, it is different. having my mind and heart totally reprogrammed by the workings of the Holy Spirit, i am convinced that the only way for our souls to be saved is to turn to Christ and seek His redemptive power through His blood and Cross not later when we die but NOW. (and more often than not, it is our brokenness that lands us at His feet.)
no amount of habitual sacrifice, deep emotion, and repetitive prayer can reopen the gates of heaven unless we bring ourselves to that sincere acceptance and humbling resignation that Christ is the Key, Christ is the solution, Christ is the only Way. He is the prerequisite.
and only then can the Holy Spirit begin His work in us, taking full charge of our minds, hearts, bodies, and souls transforming us from bad to good.
but it doesn’t end there.
unless we cultivate a right relationship with Christ for the rest of our lives, meaning we remain strong, firm, yet humble in our love and dedication to Him, constantly live in His presence in the here and now amidst trials, and come to Him frequently in unquenchable faith and childlike eagerness, the Holy Spirit can still be rendered powerless in our present states.
and now, the misleading part.
never make the mistake of thinking that we reach this miraculous point in our lives by our own doing. no, it is a consequence of a godly covenant and everything wondrous happens to us — rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, young or old, ailing or healthy, brown or white. nor that we worked hard for it and finally earned it. no, everything is a gift, unmerited.
only by the unbiased power, will, goodness, love, and grace of God.
“today i am reminded again why i love You, Lord! praise God! stay with me and mine today, Jesus.”