Don’t you hate it when someone else is minding your business?
It is such an intrusion, an invasion, an uninvited insertion of someone else’s expectations into our lives and our privacy. Few things are more galling and few things are less welcome. Always true and universally recognized, this is something we can all agree on. Until we need help, that is. Funny, isn’t it, how welcome someone else’s interest becomes only when we decide we want it?
But so often we are unwilling or unable to communicate our needs, or to find the people who could help us. This, I am pleased to let you know, is precisely why this parish exists. To mind your business!
If instead of a spire atop our church, we had a towering brick smokestack straight out of the industrial revolution; and if somehow the work of prayer gave off visible exhaust -- non-polluting, of course; then we might be able to see the clouds of radiant smoke billowing heavenward, and spreading across our community at all hours of the day and night.
This parish is a factory of prayer, a union of mutual effort and energy, roaring with the good and generous exchange of spiritual strength, and welded together by our communion in Christ. And whether you or I realize it at the moment, whether we have asked for it or not, whether we know the names of the people or not, whether we want it or not, people of this parish are praying for us, for me and for you.
More effective than the common currency of the European Union, the sacrifice of prayer is a shared medium of work and wealth that binds us together in spirit, and gives us the strength we need to function in the face of adversity or uncertainty. These prayers absorb some of the impact of pain and punishment on us, and magnify the good and the grace that nourishes our joy. Never seen or handled, much less taxed, prayer has no expiration date, but neither can it be hoarded.
As manager of this operation, I get to point this power-production in the direction where it is most needed. When people tell me they’re praying for me, I thank them, and tell them to keep it coming – because I burn them fast! I try to bring every intention of which I have been told, or that I have observed, or that I can only guess, to prayer – my own, and our common prayer of the Sacred Liturgy.
Still, there are the entrepreneurial souls out there who insist on praying on their own, or in small groups. They too direct their exertions toward brothers and sisters and their needs and intentions, whether they know of them directly, or not. Rooted in Eucharistic unity, these dedicated pray-ers can sense and respond to circumstances and situations that are fully known only to the mind of Christ.
These people are messing about in your business and in mine, in the most powerful way possible. Thank God! Monsignor Smith