And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before ( Job 42:10).
I pray with a couple of intercessory prayer groups each week. We pray for many things. Peace in the World, for our Priests, for our Parish, for Healing in families, and the conversion of sinners. With one of the groups, we pray for specific individuals and intentions and healing that may be needed.
I know a lot of you out there are also praying daily. Many of you may have been praying for something for a long time being patient and persevering in prayer. I just wanted to write this to encourage you because of a moment I had in prayer the other day; because sometimes it feels like we have been praying and praying, and yet nothing happens. One thing I do know for sure is that we need to make sure the prayers are aligned with the will of God. God desires our sanctification, which often involves suffering. We can offer this suffering and unite it to his cross. God wants his children to be saved.
So I was driving to work the other morning talking to God. I was thanking Him and praising Him for getting a hold of me and my heart. I was remembering how steeped in sin I had been, how miserable with panic attacks I had been, how I had relied on medication to function, and how God in His goodness set me free. But then I questioned Him and asked why Lord? Why me? A lot of people are struggling, and a lot of people pray for you to free them, so why me? I know that after Veronica’s murder I started talking to you, but hadn’t I at least tried to a little bit before that? Why did you talk so clearly to me then?
At that moment I got the overwhelming feeling of the presence of Michael Fallon. He was a friend of mine who, due to addiction issues, had held me hostage in college who later repented and entered seminary. He had such a love for the Blessed Sacrament that an image of it was placed on his gravestone after he passed away.
Michael passed away in 2011 a little over a year after Veronica’s murder. And here I was in the car, feeling clearly his presence, and the Lord gave me an image in my head. It was Michael, while he was in seminary, in front of the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration, praying for me, the girl he had held hostage. He was praying for me, with Jesus, long after I had lost contact with him.
I was so overcome I burst into tears. Though I cannot ever verify this, I know it to be true. And then I realized the greatest tragedy in the whole world are people who have no one to pray for them. And I had an even greater understanding of the Mystical Body, and the Mass, why this Corporate communal Mass of worshiping God is so important and beautiful. When we offer our own intentions in Mass, instead of mindlessly attending, amazing things happen.
Asking Those Who Have Died to Pray
The three states of the Church. “When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is”‘
- All of us, however, in varying degrees and in different ways share in the same charity towards God and our neighbors, and we all sing the one hymn of glory to our God. All, indeed, who are of Christ and who have his Spirit form one Church and in Christ cleave together.
“So it is that the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods.
The intercession of the saints. “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus . . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.”Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life.
“I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth” (CCC 954-956).
Imagine for a second, if you would, that every Priest and every parish, offered Mass for the country. A Mass, free of political agenda, but with the intention of asking God for what He wants for our country and asking Him to bless it. I believe the country would look different if we did this. As it stands, only a few Priests do this – and yet their prayers with ours still have an effect and matter, but the Body is disjointed. Suddenly, I understand why Our Lady asked the children at Fatima to relay that the Pope and Bishops should consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart.
I believe this got done, but it was done the way we humans seem to do many things, not immediately, not joyfully, and not completely. It was the opposite of the way my Spiritual Director says Saints in heaven do things.
And so though we do see the conversion of Russia happening, it is messy and incomplete. And she has spread her errors starting in China and moving from there. We see once free people embrace that ideology. And our own church barters with the state, leaving the faithful lost and abandoned. The effects of not listening to the way heaven asks us to do things spread far and wide.
If we could see the entity that caused us to fear when heaven asked us to do something, we would obey heaven immediately, knowing that entity only wishes our destruction and heaven wants life and life abundantly. Our communal prayer could drastically change things if we would simply listen to heaven, and pray together, joyfully, immediately and fully.
I do know and believe that Mary’s Immaculate Heart will triumph. It’s just going to be a bumpy ride because of our incomplete intercessory prayer and cooperation.
Souls in Purgatory
I will leave you with one more story I came across a story awhile back that drove home the point of intercessory prayer to me. It is in a book called The Amazing Secret of the Souls in Purgatory, an Interview with Maria Simma. Maria Simma was a simple country woman who prayed for the souls in purgatory.
In the book, Maria relays a story of a man on a train who wouldn’t stop speaking evil of the church, of priests, and of God. Maria prayed one single prayer for this man, “Lord do not let this soul be lost.”
Years later the man appeared to her after his death. He told her he had come very close to hell but was saved by God through HER prayer (and his final cooperation). Without her prayer this man would probably not have received the mercy of purgatory. Wow.
Do not lose heart with all the things we see going on around us. Pray, pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament, Pray with your friends, have Masses said. It will unite hearts, and bring healing. Praying together makes us a fierce force to be reckoned with.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God ( Philippians 4:6).
Michael Patrick Fallon, pray for us. And we will pray for you.