I think it must be the case that when we are praying for the sick and deceased at Mass, if we hear the name of someone we know, there is a sudden quickening of our hearts. I admit that when the intercession is a surprise, especially, there is a sidelong glance thrown down our pew. A furrowed brow. A dip of the knees. A deeper urgency and openness to the One who is The Life.
Last week, I was given the gift of listening to an incredibly devout man from our parish pondering such intercessory prayers. He had just returned from a pilgrimage of sorts: caring for his mother while she was hospitalized. He had several quiet revelations during that time, and one of them was about you. See, this man has been praying for you for years now. (You may not have met him yet, but he prays for you anyway.) He prays as he sings Psalms for you. He prays over each one of your requests left by the chapel door. He prays when he sees you across the aisle. And all along, he has been praying with purpose, dedication, and great faith. Wow, right?
But the journey taught him something even MORE. As he was praying for his own mother, he was also praying for my mother, who is gravely ill. His, mine, his, mine. As he prayed, he realized that we can pray differently – more passionately – for our own beloved family members than we do for “strangers.” And so, what began as his, mine, his, mine turned into his, his. He deliberately took on my mother as his own. And then he took you on as his own. Because, as he explained to me, “This church IS my family.” And because, of course, that’s what God does for us every day: takes us on as His own.
When I arrived home from my meeting with the man, I received an email from another deeply prayerful friend. Its brief sincerity made me chuckle and validated the lesson of the day: “How’s mom?” he asked.
“Well and truly loved,” is my answer.
Parish Catechetical Leader