Today’s meditation is on praying for others, many of whom you may not know, many of whom you may not see anymore:
Tell me about the poor whom you want to help, the sick whom you have seen suffer, the sinner whom you would convert, the persons who are alienated from you, and whose affections you wish to win back. For all recite a fervent prayer that comes from the heart; and surely the prayers are heartfelt which we say for those whom we love, and who love us.*
I was shopping today, walking beside, in front of, behind hundreds of people. So many were frail or burdened by their health in one way or another. At one point I thought to help one woman unload her cart in order to check out. I hesitated, wondering if my assistance would be welcomed, or if it would make her feel small, or as though I was impatient with her and her frailness. My hesitation saddened me. But, the Lord must have been watching. Along came an angel clerk, who helped her put all her things on the conveyor belt. Praise God.
Still, she was one who was able to afford to purchase her foods and other items. What about those whose lives are so barren of resources that they must beg or ask for charity or, worse, those who find their lives so shredded that they are driven to sell or give away their bodies, in order to survive? Lord, strengthen them and heal their lives and their hearts. Give them your loving protection, that the core of who they are, the reality of their being, the child in them still, that is Yours and loved unconditionally by You, is insulated from evil and harm.
I prayed today for all my family and friends, but I’ve been spending some special time lately talking with God about several who have fallen away from the church and from God. I can tell from a distance that He has answered my prayers already in a couple of cases.
One friend told me of having listened to a CD of gospel music that she especially enjoyed. Another mentioned that she and her husband went to Christmas Eve services at a local church. I give thanks for this encouragement. I lift these two and others up to God, praying that He will beckon to them, call them by name, ask them to be one of His own. And, I ask that He help them to soften their hearts to His call.
But what of those friends or family who are alienated from me or from one another. What of those ones whom I can’t see or talk with or reach out to. I pray for them to come to know Our Father more fully and to be comforted by Him. I pray that my heart be softened toward them if there is enmity on my part. And I place my trust in God that He will hear my prayers and will signal somehow to me, if there is something more, some more tangible way in which I might encourage their faith, that we might be reunited some day in Christ.
Finally, what about those wretched souls, who have so lost their way that evil has consumed them and they call Satan their Lord. Those who have been so consumed by evil that they live hate-filled lives and pass their wretchedness on to others around them — imposing their control over weaker little ones amongst us, innocent ones, many times.
How do I pray for these, Father? Do I ask that You act in Your righteous wrath to smite them? Do I ask that You look deep into their hearts and find those small, hidden places there, which might still be receptive to Your touch? How do I pray, when I do not know what to pray for?
I only know that You know their needs and the needs of their victims. You understand their own victimhood. Act Father, if it is Your will, to give purpose to this pain and suffering, and to draw these poor and wretched souls closer to Your healing grace.
*A Meditation Before the Blessed Sacrament, Catholic Church.