As a father, the very first thing that catches my attention is Mormon’s efforts in prayer to always be mindful of his son, Moroni, and that this is how he opens this letter to him. I feel that Mormon understands something more about the need to pray for his son, that he would constantly be supplicating to the Father in the name of Christ that he would keep him (his son Moroni) through the goodness and grace of God.
How am I going to better understand this? Through prayer, asking for understanding in the very thing that I am lacking knowledge in.
Knowledge was obtained through prayer yesterday morning. It was a very clear thought process in prayer to petition to Lord for goodness and grace.
The Infinite Goodness of Jesus Christ
Reading a footnote in Exodus 34, the impression that sticks with me this morning is that Christ is a God of humanity. By this, I mean, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the very being who by design is able to succor and care for us in a mortal and messy, fallen condition. He is not for some non-existent, perfected race of creatures. We are it. We are His. We with our increasingly complex and diverse sets of unique challenges are the very beings that Christ came to save.
The Grace of Jesus Christ
The topical guide entry for “grace” also equates it with mercy and favor. It is the sense of finding a position of blessing from the Lord.
(Aah! I just found one of the most profound passages on business success in the scriptures in James 4. I find this extremely significant.)
Continuing my study on “grace”, this morning I was brought to consider the account of Noah found in the book of Moses, wherein it reads that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. It goes on to state that Noah was also perfect in his generation: bold and fascinating observations. A footnote in Moses 8:28 pointed me to Doctrine and Covenants 10:21, which in observing the corruption of man make this final declaration: “And their hearts are corrupt, and full of wickedness… because their deeds are evil; therefore they will not ask of me.” (emphasis added)
To me, this is the end of the matter: grace is favor in the presences of God; wickedness is failure to ask or call upon God for his guidance, blessing, and direction.
The first two verses of Mormon’s epistle to his son Moroni, are a rich contemplation on their personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It seems very personal and intimate to me. It has been the subject of study for various days now.
Reflecting on how prayer might work in verse 3, I don’t understand why the Lord requires us to act so before him, but it seems to be the only way to bring others safely home is through prayers of complete submission and pleading. Mormon says that he has prayed continually to God the Father through the name of Jesus Christ that Moroni’s faith would be kept and preserved through the goodness and grace of Jesus Christ and faith on His name until the end.
There is something about this position that just feels fixed and immutable, but then he moves on, and so must I.
There is one more paradox that I want to wrestle with in verse 3 about “enduring to the end.” I am brought to consider it as I try to understand the curious wording that Mormon uses to explain his prayers to Moroni.
- “I am mindful of you always in my prayers,”
- “continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus,”
- “that he, through his infinite goodness and grace, will keep you”
- “through the endurance of faith on his name to the end.”
What is so curious about this is the double-side nature of perseverance: It comes from both Christ’s efforts and it comes from our own efforts, and if there was a third side, it comes from others efforts to pray continually for our well-being. Are all these things required for us to preserve faith and endure to the end? And why does Mormon feel the need to ask for something that feels like it should just be automatic (the goodness and grace of Jesus)? Is it “automatic,” like just always on or available to us?
The goodness and grace of Christ is always available to us, but only upon conditions of our faith to reach out to receive it. (Now curiously, this is one of the core doctrinal discussion of the rest of this chapter that deals with grace extended to those that are not accountable.)
It still just a very interesting position that Mormon takes in his wording that make God feel like the more volitional of the two players in this exchange. He’s not praying that Moroni will have sufficient faith to be able to access the grace of Christ which is always on. Rather, he is praying that God the Father will keep his son, Moroni. So there is actually a third layer here that I wasn’t seeing before. And it is the agency of Heavenly Father that is being petitioned to position his son Moroni in such a way as to give him access to Christ’s grace.
Mormon is thus assuming that if (part one) God the Father will keep Moroni close to Christ, that Christ’s grace (part two) and Moroni’s faith (part three) will be as they need to be. Heavenly Father is the key player here!
How much more important is prayer because of this! To ask, seek, and knock.