“Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to him. That is all the doing you have to worry about.” St. Jane Frances de Chantal
If someone were to ask you, “give me an example of faith in action,” try, “Prayer.” And when someone asks me to pray for them, or for a special intention they have, does the thought occur to me to say: “Well, let’s pray for that right now?”
In one version of today’s opening prayer at Mass we pray for one another that we “may see what must be done and gain strength to do what (we) have seen.”
That prayer assumes that we are not, exclusively, to pray alone. Yes, there is personal prayer, that which the Lord wants to speak to our hearts. I recall vividly kneeling down in our rectory chapel at Holy Family Parish in Birmingham, Alabama, asking the Lord for a blessing upon me as I traveled to my new assignment, and adding to that prayer the following: “that I may do penance for any wrongdoing that I have committed during my time in Birmingham.” At the time the prayer sounded awkward but sincere.
Within three weeks at my next assignment, I had a very humbling experience which brought me to my knees. It was an opportunity to repent. So much for the power of personal prayer!
And, there is much to say for that form of prayer into which brings others are invited. We hear Jesus’ advice when someone offends us. It may not be enough just to have another with whom to talk and pray. It may take two or three witnesses” or a collective of the Church. That did happen to me when it took 45 people to sort out a grievous matter in a parish to which I had been assigned.
And, even when things do not get resolved, Jesus’ cryptic statement makes all the sense in the world. “Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Some things that happen simply are not resolved, forgiven, nor reconciled at that time. They are simply bound on earth and bound in heaven.
We assume, in faith, that the Father is present in the realization and patient waiting and hope is which we are held.
Be grateful for those two or three who gather with you in the name of Christ who recognize that God’s Will is in all of this.
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P., is a member of the Passionist Community in Detroit, Michigan.