I wanted to ask you about the power of prayer. What does God mean when he says in Matthew 7:7 -- ask with faith and you shall receive. I was deliberately infected with the HIV virus through a bite where the individual in question had blood in their mouth. I have rarely missed mass, say the rosary as often as possible, have made a pilgrimage to Lourdes (used the miraculous water) and Fatima. I have been begging God to cure me by making me HIV -. I know he loves me and has the power to do it. I do Novenas to St. Therese Little Flower and St. Jude hoping that they intercede and pray to God that my prayer be answered. I am a nice guy. All my life I have been trying to help other people. I keep thinking that I somehow someway went wrong and God is punishing me. I know this is not true, but I feel so alone. I do believe from my interpretation of Matthew 7:7 that I will one day be cured. Am I interpreting this right? Please pray for me and my family, and also the person who did this to me that he does not do this to another person -- may God forgive him.
Dear Friend, Thank you for your letter. I want to assure you of my prayers for you and your family. In particular I pray that you may grow in understanding how the Lord still walks with you as a person living with HIV. In this passage of Scripture, Jesus says "Ask and it shall be given to you" -- we can interpret this as meaning what I want or need and what I pray for faithfully is what God is promising to give -- it can also mean that even if I do not receive what I ask for God will give me the grace, strength, fortitude to face my life and its circumstances with his help. God who is love does promise that no matter what happens in our life, God remains caring and faithful. Even when we get disappointed and turn away from God, God is still there waiting for our return and not holding any grudges. I am sure that it takes a great deal of faith and courage to pray for the person who you believe gave you this virus and to face the day to day challenges of living with HIV, but I think you could not have this attitude by yourself and that God is answering your prayers and giving you strength -- even though that means continuing living with HIV. Blessings and peace, Fr. Rod