By KAITLIN KLEIN
We all know that if you want to feel depressed, just watch the news. I can easily name dozens of sad, difficult and just plain terrible things going on in the world today. Suffering is everywhere – from my neighbor who is recovering from foot surgery, to my friend’s brother struggling with addiction, to the unemployed, to the homeless, to the sick, to the confusion about our identities, to the falling away from the Church, to the conflict in Ukraine today.
What can we do? I won’t get into the myriad of practical things different specific situations call for. But across the board, we can pray.
I almost feel silly writing this in a Catholic newspaper! If you’re reading this, you know this. We know the power of prayer; we know i!. But do we do it, believe in it, and treasure and take advantage of this great gift? We are children of God, not only allowed but encouraged to be in communication with him. Getting stuck in traffic? A gift of extra time to pray. Up with the baby four times a night? Beautiful time to offer the tiredness for a specific person or situation, or simply to Mary, who always does the will of God. No prayer is wasted.
I personally need reminders sometimes that prayer is efficacious – that all things are possible with God. I was recently reminded, in a Bible study, of how reading scripture can be a prayer. We can pray and declare truths in scripture for ourselves and others. I need reminded that there are more important things than checking the social media newsfeed or pinning recipes on Pinterest.
St. John Paul the Great said, "Prayer joined to sacrifice constitutes the most powerful force in human history." This goes right along with the liturgical season of Lent, when we are making sacrifices and stripping our lives down to the basics by focusing on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. In our lives of plenty today, we have many available opportunities to make sacrifices. Combining that with prayer, you can be assured of making an impact.
St. Scholastica prayed that her brother, St. Benedict, would be able to stay one more night with her; the Lord sent a storm which required him to stay. St. Faustina said, "I asked the Lord for help with a lost soul and the good Lord answered by entrusting this soul into my care. How much suffering this soul cost me is known only to God. For no other soul did I make so many sacrifices and for no other soul did I offer so much prayer before the throne of God as I did for this lost soul. I felt finally that I had forced God to grant this soul the grace of conversion. When I reflect on this, I see that this soul’s conversion was truly a miracle, but it also showed me the power of intercessory prayer before God” (Diary, 202). St. Therese was unable to be a missionary but is now a strong saint in heaven because of her prayers and the small sacrifices she made in her convent.
When I take seriously the call to pray, I can make an impact on my family and on those across the world. Thanks be to God!