Optional Memorial: St Patrick, Bishop
(Preference Given to Liturgical Season)
From: Matthew 7:7-12
The Effectiveness of Prayer
(Jesus told His disciples,)  "Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
The Golden Rule
 "So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets."
7-11. Here the Master teaches us in a number of ways about the effectiveness of prayer. Prayer is a raising of mind and heart to God to adore Him, to praise Him, to thank Him and to ask Him for what we need (cf. "St. Pius X Catechism", 255). Jesus emphasizes the need for petitionary prayer, which is the first spontaneous movement of a soul who recognizes God as his Creator and Father. As God's creature and child, each of us needs to ask Him humbly for everything.
In speaking of the effectiveness of prayer, Jesus does not put any restriction: "Every one who asks receives", because God is our Father. St. Jerome comments: "It is written, to everyone who asks it will be given; so, if it is not given to you, it is not given to you because you do not ask; so, ask and you will receive" ("Comm. in Matth.", 7). However, even though prayer in itself is infallible, sometimes we do not obtain what we ask for. St. Augustine says that our prayer is not heard because we ask "aut mali, aut male, aut mala." "Mali" (= evil people): because we are evil, because our personal dispositions are not good; "male" (= badly): because we pray badly, without faith, not persevering, not humbly; "mala" (= bad things): because we ask for bad things, that is, things which are not good for us, things which can harm us (cf. "De Civitate Dei, XX", 22 and 27; "De Serm. Dom. In Monte", II, 27, 73). In the last analysis, prayer is ineffective when it is not true prayer. Therefore, "Pray. In what human venture could you have greater guarantee of success?" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 96).
12. This "golden rule" gives us a guideline to realize our obligations towards and the love we should have for others. However, if we interpreted it superficially it would become a selfish rule; it obviously does not mean "do utdes" ("I give you something so that you will give me something") but that we should do good to others unconditionally: we are clever enough not to put limits on how much we love ourselves. This rule of conduct will be completed by Jesus' "new commandment" (John 13:34), where He teaches us to love others as He Himself has loved us.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.