To say I am having a hard time praying right now would be like saying Obama stands a wee bit to the left: a vast understatement. Really, my only prayer is standing next to Mary at the foot of the Cross and clutching her hand. I don't have any words, I don't have anything to say or ask for. I'm just standing there, holding on.
I'm letting others pray for me. And I know many, many people are. My sister-in-law, who has passed away, once told me one of the jobs of your guardian angel was, in Heaven, to introduce you to all the people who had prayed for your throughout your life - those known to you and those not. I am expecting to be greeting many souls.
I was talking to one of my dear friends, L., who is Muslim, while my daughter was still missing. I told her I was trying to pray but couldn't find any words. She sent me this from the Qu'ran: “Our Lord! Take us not to task if we forget or miss the mark. Our Lord!
Do not place on us a burden like what You placed on those before us. Our
Lord! Do not place a burden on us that is beyond our strength to bear.
Blot out our misdeeds, grant us the protection of forgiveness, and
bestow grace upon us. You are our Lord Supreme, so help us against
people who oppose the truth.” That got prayed a lot.
My dear friend A., whom I used to teach with, told me she was praying the Rosary for us. Now, that probably doesn't seem like too big of a deal, given that A. is a Catholic school teacher - a religion teacher. But she has a terrible time praying the Rosary. It's probably her least favorite prayer. She dislikes its repetitive nature, its stillness, its meditative essence. It's incredibly hard for her to pray. And yet, she's praying it for us. I know what a monumental spiritual effort this is for her.
I don't know if you've ever had the experience of having many people praying for your in a time of crisis. I can tell you: you actually FEEL the prayers. They prop you up, sustain you. You think, "I can do this", whether it's getting out the shower (instead of just staying there until the hot water tank drains), getting to work and staying on task for more than 3 minutes, or holding your daughter's hand while she recounts - again - what monstrous things happened to her.
I am still not praying much, but that's okay. I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, and their prayers envelop me in grace.
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