I'm not done with that 54-day novena yet. But let me tell you, I've prayed novenas that were mostly about remembering, checklist style, to say prayers. But this novena has, I dunno, gotten in my face like a personal trainer and pushed me, sometimes, like I didn't exactly feel like being pushed.
I don't know about you, but I am finding that no matter how selfless I intend to be in praying for other people, there is always something that comes back to "and here's how what's good for them will feel great for me." That just sneaks in there, all the time. Even if I pray for miracles for people I don't even know, some part of me would just like the satisfaction that my prayers could make a difference. That would feel good.
There's nothing grossly wrong with that, because my happiness is made up in part by the good of others. But. There's this other part. This is what started breaking into my consciousness today about this novena.
Miraculous breakthroughs of grace -- I guess that about summarizes what I have been praying for. And today I realized that the biggest miracle of grace I could ever personally witness is for me to love unconditionally, with no hint of personal gain or benefit. Like God loves us. Willing to love despite being ignored, avoided, taken for granted, even disdained and rejected. Me, love. That's a miracle!
But I don't say that sardonically. It simply is true. I offer my life to God for Him to make an outpost of His kingdom of love through which He can access those in my life directly. I offer Him my heart that His love may flow through me. I may very well never realize how He works or when He works, but I know He does this sort of thing even when people are unaware and unconscious of their offering. Supernatural things happen in lives when God's love is made manifest. That is really my only wish for my life, that divine love may flow through me to reach someone else.
So, instead of thinking what miracles and changes I would like to witness in someone else's life (especially when those changes would make me happy!) I can live in the graces I have prayed for by loving, regardless of how I am treated. As St. John of the Cross stated: "Think nothing else but that God ordains all, and where there is no love, put love, and there you will draw out love." As one commentator on this famous quote concluded, instead of "waiting for love to happen" one can put love to work in order to harvest the fruits later. If even St. John of the Cross can say this, certainly one can wish in an unselfish manner for love to be reciprocated. God certainly wishes that! I'm quite limited in things I can actually do to demonstrate love, in general and especially in the particular instance at hand, but I can always pray. In that I have great freedom.