...something tells me that a special joy of heaven will be to know and see what prayer did for us, and what our prayers did for others. For now, things can seem discouraging at times. The effects of our prayers may seem subtle or even non-existent. But God is working his purposes out and collecting and dispensing the fruits of our prayer in due season.For an example of the above, see here. Excerpts:
Anyway, I thought of all this yesterday as I was reading from The Dialogue of Catherine of Siena. And therein, the Lord speaks to her of what the prayers of the faithful do and how they release grace and set souls free. Here are some excerpts:
The sufferings you endure will, through the power of charity, suffice to win both atonement and reward for you and others…The stains of your foolishness will be blotted out, and I will no longer remember that you have ever offended me.
As for the others, because of your loving charity, I will pardon them in proportion to their receptiveness….They will come in this way to truly know and regret their sins, and so, because of my servants’ prayers they will receive the fruit of grace….They will receive both forgiveness and its gifts, unless their stubbornness is such that they despair….
I look on them and give them light. I rouse the dog of conscience within them. I make them sensitive to the perfume of virtue and give them delight in the fellowship of my servants. Sometimes I allow the world to show them its true colors….that they may know how inconstant it is and be more eager to seek their homeland in eternal life.
The eye cannot see nor the tongue tell, nor can the heart imagine how many paths and methods I have, solely for love and to lead them back to grace so that my truth may be realized in them. (Dialogue # 4)
Yes, here is what prayer and sacrifice unleash. Continue to pray and do not doubt the words of the Lord who says that our heart cannot imagine all the paths he can open for others back to grace, the Church and the Sacraments, back to Him...
How is it that a Supreme Court Justice keeps two pictures drawn by a little girl who died six years ago on the desk of his office? Or that the head of an influential Washington D.C. think tank prayed to the same girl for his father to be saved from a brain tumor? Or, that a noted Washington thinker has a regular devotion to her?
Margaret Leo was painfully crippled from spina bifida, paralyzed from the waste down. Parts of her cerebellum and brain stem were pushed into the opening of her spinal column. A painful shunt in her brain ensured her spinal fluid circulated. Without it, her head would have swelled, causing death. Titanium rods were inserted to straighten her spine, but bent instead. Over time, one of the rods poked out of her neck...
But there was something that drew the powerful to her who had no power at all. And she drew total strangers, too.
Her special gift was joyful friendship. In an elevator, she would pepper strangers with questions, with a steady gaze and big smile. “What is your name?” “Where are you going?” “What is your birthday?” They sensed she really wanted to know. The girl had no artifice. Even Supreme Court Justices can be attracted to that.
What they did not know, because she never mentioned it, even to her family, was that she was likely in unimaginable pain. Think of a titanium rod being bent by your spine, and about to poke through the skin of your neck. Or a shunt inside your brain.
No one describes her as a “spiritual athlete.” Her faith was profoundly childlike. Her whole life she prayed out loud the simple prayer her mother taught her as a child, “Jesus, thank you for coming to me in the Eucharist.”...
The funeral Mass for this 14-year-old was packed to the rafters and stories about her began to circulate. Grown men left deeply moved. Some carry her prayer card to this day.
Then things began to happen. Some call them miracles...