A discouraged reader writes asking for prayer

A discouraged reader writes asking for prayer January 9, 2018

She sez:

I need help but I don’t know where to turn. I am going through a depression crisis: No family to turn to, disappointed with my life, wondering why, at 75 and not knowing what I exist for, I am still alive when a woman I know who is a few years younger, with a good marriage, a nice husband, grandchildren that she adores, even her younger son is a priest, and she is now in palliative care… I am almost jealous! Why her and not me?She has so many reasons to live, and I don’t! It has happened to me to say that the only reason I am still alive is that my religion does not allow me to do otherwise…

There is much more I could say, but the effort is too much right now. Please get your prayer warriors to take a little time from new year’s celebration and pray for me…

Sorry to bother you and everybody else at this time of year!

I’m so sorry I’ve been slow to reply and I hope you are doing better.

Please know that your life and every moment of it matters. Paul calls us God’s “poiema”—his poem—and his reasons are his own for why he leads us on the vary paths he does. Some saints are given short life to accomplish what God intends for them, then it’s homeward bound for them. Others of us are given long life: who knows why? It may well be that your prayers have spelled the difference between life and death for some perfect stranger on the Internet that I or somebody else asked you to pray for. Who *knows* what works God has left for you to do at some Mass in the future. Who knows what he has yet to show you? Who knows what charism you have been given that some other person needs you to exercise for them?

“Oh! captive, bound, and double-ironed,” cried the phantom, “not to know, that ages of incessant labour by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed. Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!” – Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

The truth is, none of us has the slightest idea what place we occupy in the work of God in the world. It may be that right now you are engaged in some seemingly insignificant work or prayer or charity that will spell a difference for the fate of nations. But even if it just spells life and grave for one other human being, that’s eternal in the eyes of God. So don’t sell yourself short. It was a bottle of Pepto-Bismol, given me by a Christian friend when I was desperately ill forty years ago that opened my heart to the grace of God present in his people. Some seemingly piddly kind word in an email you write may pull a soul back from the brink of hell. You have no idea how much you matter in the Grand Scheme of Things. And you matter to God most of all!

At any rate, I will certainly post your prayer request.

Father, hear our prayer for this wonderful woman your Son Jesus died and rose for. Give her hope to finish her course on earth strong and break the finish line tape as Paul did, looking forward to the crown you have promised her. Help her to use her time well, to seek and find you here on earth in the present hour, to use what gifts and resources you have given her to bless her neighbor however she can. And when her time comes, welcome her with the words. “Well done, good and faithful one! We ask all this through Christ our Lord. Mother Mary, pray for her!

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