The Canaanite Woman: Diligent Perseverence in Prayer

Women seeking Christ's mercy

Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon.  And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”  But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”  But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”  But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”  And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”  Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.     (Matthew 15: 21-28)

Orthodox Biblical scholar Fr. Stanley Harakas comments:

What precisely was the Canaanite woman’s inner spiritual virtue that Jesus wanted to reveal so that she would be blessed with the healing of her daughter and so that the disciples (and we) could profit spiritually?  In his explanation, St John Chrysostom uses the word “assiduity” in his translation.  This older English word is a characteristic of a person who is diligent, energetic, industrious, persevering, persistent resolute, and zealous.  No wonder Jesus said to her, O woman, great is your faith!  Be it done for you as you desire”!

Chrysostom explains:  “Never mind,” he says, “that you are unworthy.  Become worthy by your assiduity.  For it is possible both that the unworthy should become worthy from his assiduity, and that God assents more when called on by ourselves than by others.”      (Harakas, Stanley Samuel, Archbishop Iakovos, Of Life and Salvation:  Reflections on Living the Christian Life, pg 124)

One thought on “The Canaanite Woman: Diligent Perseverence in Prayer

  1. Pingback: Become worthy through your diligence | Again and Again

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