Sometimes we (and by “we,” I mean “I”), without thinking, forget that we do not have the power to fix everything that is wrong or to right all that is unjust. We witness or hear of terrible suffering and our first thought is to do something about it. That impulse is good and should be acted upon, but we err (a more polite description than “are delusional”) when we think that we alone can save the world, even subconsciously. Our real hope rests with God.
Consider natural disasters such as experienced in Japan last week. Thousands have died, many more are heavily impacted and nuclear power issues continue to unfold. Remember Haiti too, with a quarter million dead and almost complete devastation. Pray for all these people.
Pray also for the persecuted Christians in the Middle East. There are more martyrs every day at the hands of Muslim extremists. Supposedly democratic revolutions seem to always result in death and displacement for Christians.
Pray friends for the poor and homeless, including those suffering financial hardships related to the prolonged recession. Many people have lost their jobs, their savings, their homes and the possessions earned over a lifetime (or several lifetimes). This has been especially difficult on children.
Always remember the children whose lives are snuffed-out in the womb of their mother. Over 3,500 die every day in the United States of America. A black baby in New York City has only a 40% chance of seeing daylight and taking a breath. Remember too the scar this tragedy leaves on the aborting mother and medical professionals who inflict it.
Pray brethren for politicians whose hard hearts relentlessly promote a culture of death and the destruction of the family. Pray especially for those who put on the cloak of faith, particularly those who profess the Catholic faith – yet so obviously serve a different master.
Finally, pray for our religious vocations. May God call more dedicated men and women to His service and bless their ministries. Pray too for those who lead their flocks along paths disobedient to Holy Mother Church or teach only subsets of her truth (as Pope Benedict recently warned). Do not forget to pray for the intentions of our Holy Father.
Pray brothers and sisters as God is the source of all good that can overcome such struggles. God turns tragedy into renewal, provides for the needy, heals the sick and softens hard hearts. He does all this, but we must ask.
This Lent, yes, pray for the needs of the world. Pray too for ourselves, that we open our hearts, grow closer to God and conform our will to His. Slow down. Be introspective. Set aside time for adoration and daily Mass. Pray. Convert.
Live Lent! The journey this season leads us to Christ and the cross. Through Him we are saved and through Him we receive eternal joy. The hope of Lent gives us life beyond the end of this earthly exile. Our pilgrimage on earth, while often difficult, is blessed by infinite grace. Thanks be to God!