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in His ears these heartrending wails of which a mother alone has the secret?

“And His disciples came and besought Him, saying: Send her away (grant her prayer), for she crieth after us." They spoke thus, because, ordinarily, they did not appeal without obtaining His favors.

To their surprise, Jesus does not grant their petition, saying: “I was not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

They are near the city; the sight of strangers and, still more, the cries of the woman, . attract attention. Why did this woman follow the new-comers?

Trying to escape from her and from the indiscreet looks of curiosity, Jesus enters a house. What shall the poor woman do now? To see Him, to make Him hear her prayers, had been her hope; but now even this chance is gone. Must she return home to behold again the sad spectacle of her tormented daughter? Never! With manly courage she enters the house and, throwing herself at the feet of Jesus, she says: “Lord, help me."

Unlike the Jews, she does not ask Him to come to her house to heal her daughter, but that He will it only, and her beloved child

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shall be safe – a single act of His will is sufficient.

“It is not good,” said Jesus to her, “to take the bread from the children, and to cast it to the dogs."'*)

A surprisingly harsh word from the Saviour! Yet He told His disciples before: let the children of the favored nation have their fill first. They, in virtue of the divine promise, have the first right to the favors and graces of the Messiah.

The Cananean, however, is not hurt, nor does she lose her confidence in Jesus; she does not leave Him, murmuring and indignant, as many others would have done. Though of the Cananean race, hated and despised by the Jews, she has the faith of the children of God. Oh, inestimable power of an humble faith, that, at all events and under all circumstances, even when Heaven seems to be against us, leaves unshaken our sentiments and convictions, our will and attitude towards God!

“But she said: Yea, Lord! for the whelps

*) As in our days the Mohamedans call the Christians “giaurs”, so in those days the Jews called the heathens “dogs" and despised them as impure.

also eat of the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters."

Accepting the comparison, she makes a weapon out of it against the refusal of Jesus:

-Well, suppose I am one of these dogs, are they refused the crumbs that fall from the table? Woman, thy retort is sublime; can Jesus continue His refusal? Has His tender and compassionate heart not suffered enough from this long resistence? God often takes pleasure in being vanquished by us.

“Woman, thy faith is great, be it done to thee as thou wilt."

What! This infidel and despised woman, this dog, as she was called, is granted such a power by Jesus that He submits His will to liers? “Be it done to thee as thou wilt." Henceforth salvation comes from faith, but not, as the Jews believed, from being born a child of Abraham.—Her unflinching faith overcomes the divine will formally expressed and even modifies, as it were, the plan of evangelization. What wilt Thou, O Lord, refuse to the prayers of the just, and where are Thy unalterable decrees? What is there that Thy dearest friend cannot obtain? What wilt Thou refuse to those whose will is Thy will, whose hearts, at Thy feet, breathe the purest love, whose very aspirations and continuous self-immolations have but one object in view: the salvation of souls, the grandeur of Thy kingdom, and the manifestation of Thy glory?

Christian mothers, ask of God whatever you will, especially in the supernatural order; do not be discouraged by a first refusal! After the example of this admirable woman, persevere in spite of all obstacles, even when desperation seems to stare you in the face. Perhaps the minutes or hours the Cananean spent in supplication represent for you as many months or years of prayer, of suffering, of tears!

Everywhere one hears the distressing complaint: I have prayed in vain! Did we really pray? Did we pour out our soul before God with that sublime energy of faith and love that is capable of transporting mountains? Again, did we give Almighty God the proper time in which He will be pleased to hear our prayers?

As a rule, He does not, as He did here, perform miracles, brilliant and instantaneous. He works out His designs slowly, by degrees, under cover, as it were.

The prayers of Monica did not obtain the sudden conversion of Augustine, but first a: break with his former associates, then a trip to Rome, next the meeting with St. Ambrose, and finally his conversion, after twenty years of maternal suffering.

Let us, therefore, have recourse to prayer! And behold what God will do: little by little He will remove obnoxious influences and bring about favorable surroundings; He will, perhaps, change the material conditions of life; He will punish; if necessary, send sickness or death itself to change the soul hitherto under the dominion of the Devil, and grant it a final repentance. The world is full of this kind of wonders, — wonders of divine love, brought about in silence of long duration, under cover of the natural laws.

The day will come when we, too, shall clearly see that a multitude of facts, apparently natural, i. e., the product of material forces and free will, were due exclusively to special arrangements of divine Providence, provoked by Christian faith and persevering prayer.

As to the daughter of the Cananean woman, she was healed that very hour. Next to the sorrow of the mother, nothing could move the heart of Jesus so much as the pitiable

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