***Bumped to top for today*** Check below for new posts!
My very dear Father-in-Law had a stroke just about one month ago, and while he came through it extremely well, his vision was so severely afflicted that he was no longer able to drive, or to build the unique toys he loves to make for his grandchildren, or to pick up a hammer or a measuring tape to help a neighbor.
“You’re lucky to be alive and mentally intact,” his doctors told him. “The stroke you had should have turned your world dark. At least you can still see light and shadow, even if there is no hope you will ever see again.”
For some men, just coming through the stroke would have been enough, but my FIL needs to be active, needs to be doing something constructive. He needs to feel useful, and the loss of his sight was for him a heavy cross, added to a year that had already been one continual heartache.
He and my MIL are people of great faith, but they were beginning to wonder if God had foresaken them – if their remaining years would be spent in helplessness and mourning.
Prayers went up – prayers of thanksgiving, that he came through the stroke so well, prayers of supplication that his sight be “somewhat” restored, that if he could not drive, he could at least build and cook again. I know that many regular readers of The Anchoress were petitioners who joined in prayer for that intention.
“How you doing, Pop?” I would ask my FIL, every day.
“I think my eyes are doing better,” he would say. “I really think so!”
I wanted to believe it, but part of me kept thinking that his brain was merely adapting to a new situation. Silly me.
Now, his rather stunned doctor has concluded that – with the exception of a tiny amount of peripheral vision that remains lost – his eyesight has been restored, and restored so fully that he is now able – once again – to drive home. He drove home tonight, singing God’s praises, in humility and thanksgiving and awe.
I wanted to let you know. And to say thank you, to all of you who have been praying, for your generosity of spirit and your gift of faithful example. We do believe we have here – a miracle.
Prayer has power…prayer works.
A friend of mine’s wife needed very risky, scary surgery, and the prayers of many were enlisted. She came through with flying colors and her first words in recovery were, “prayer works!”
Our pal Kobayashi Maru will tell you that prayer has power.
Michelle Malkin has a story up about a Katrina survivor who needs to benefit from the power of prayer, now.
I could list literally hundreds of times in my life where I have seen prayer change things. If I had to testify to only three things I know for certain, one of those three things would be this: Prayer has power; it changes things. It is the only thing that holds when everything else fails or falls apart.
Now, I know many will think me foolish, but I don’t mind that.
I am looking at all of this information concerning Hurricane Rita, and I believe prayer can change the effect of the storm.
I am looking at the state of our nation, and I believe prayer can help heal the tremendous and destructive divide that has thrown us into such disunity. I believe prayer can heal the chasm and repair the breach.
I am looking at one man in a public situation who has perhaps never needed the help of prayer more than he does right now, and another man in my private life who needs lots of prayer as well.
There is only one thing to do – the only thing I can do, really.
Tonight, (basically, as soon as I finish this cup of tea) I am going to be entering into a fast that I hope God will give me the grace to see through for three days. It will be a fasting prayer of Thanksgiving for all of the great and merciful things God has done for me, and for my family, and for my nation…it will be a prayer of supplication, for my family and for my nation, for everyone in a hurricane’s path, and for two men in particular.
I expect great things, not because of I am anyone special, and not because of my puny fast, but because God has promised me – has promised all of us – great things. We know that if we ask for a loaf, we will not be given a stone. He has promised us that a persistant widow can overcome the most heartless and selfish judge. His eye is on the sparrow. He clothes the lillies of the field in splendor, and so much more does he tend to us. And he says that where two or more gather in his name, He is there. [Every answer may not be the one we are looking for - sometimes the best part of prayer is coming to understand the meaning of "thy will be done," but prayer can help find the consolation in that surrender, as well.]
So, today, I pray. I pray every day, but now a bit more intensely. In my prayer, I will be both larger and smaller, both more vocal and more silent. Today I will invite others to pray with me – for us – those who are part of that great cloud of witnesses within the Communion of Saints.
I invite Mary, the Theotokos, the “God-bearer,”
Mary, the Woman Clothed With the Sun to pray for us
I invite Michael, the great Warrior Archangel, patron of First Responders and Soldiers, to pray for us
I invite Raphael, the healer Archangel, to pray for us
I invite Gabriel, the messenger Archangel, to pray for us
I invite St. Joseph, the faithful step-father of the Messiah, to pray for us, and for fathers and heads of households, and all who lead.
I invite St. Benedict, the great Abbot and Father of Western Monasticism to pray for us, and for all who lead.
I invite St. Thomas More, the patron of politicians, to pray for us, and all who lead.
I invite St. Teresa of Avila, the great Abbess and Carmelite Reformer to pray for us, and for mothers and heads of households, and all who lead.
I invite St. Nicholas patron of children, to pray for all of our children, especially those most in need, and their parents.
I invite Presidents and patriots, George Washington,
John Quincy Adams, and
to pray for our nation, and for all who lead.
I invite the great priest and patriot, John Cardinal O’ Connor to pray for our nation and all who lead.
St. Frances Cabrini, patroness of displaced persons, pray for us
I invite the holy pope John Paul II to pray for us, and for the whole world.
I invite Eurosia and Medard, Patron Saints against bad weather, to pray with us for all in the path of Hurricane Rita, and for a weakening of the storm.
I invite you to pray with me – to add your smallness and your largeness, your voices and your silence. To pray for the public needs which affect all of us in our nation, and the private needs of those around you. Join in with my fast, if you like, either physically or spiritually. We live in savagely ugly and wonderously beautiful times. Prayer will help. Extemporaneous prayer. Liturgical prayer. Scriptural prayer. It’s all good!
Let us pray.
UPDATE: Anyone looking to pray the hours over the next three days can find them at the Universalis site. Just click on the appropriate days.
The bracketed insertion – “thy will be done” – was added for clarity.