Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I remember a few years ago receiving a note from some friends describing their child’s bedtime prayer routine. My friends told me about how he listed the people he wanted to pray for and the occasional surprise entries in that category. After a visit to their home, their son had added me to his list. I was touched to know that I was on the receiving end of nightly prayers! In a way, I was amazed, as I had no reason to think he would ever have it in mind to pray for me. The good news, of course, is that people pray for me – prayers are being offered constantly for all of us! – and I never know.
Jesus prayed for us. The amazing truth of the Gospel this weekend is that Jesus, the incarnate Word of God, prayed for us, His disciples, His Church. The prayer He offers is for unity among believers, that they (we) would continue to make His name known in the world, and that the love with which He loved us would continually be manifest in our lives. We are privileged to glimpse the inner life of the Triune God in this prayer of our Lord. And we are reminded of the profound love that Jesus has for us. He loves us so much that He prays for us! When examining Scripture, the testament of this love is found in His teaching, His healing, His acts of mercy, His miracles, His suffering and death, His resurrection, and His prayer.
We can each imitate at least a small portion of Jesus’ testament of love. Let’s start with prayer. Today, I propose making a conscious choice to pray for someone by name, perhaps someone you would not normally think to pray for, or someone for whom you have forgotten to pray. Pray with Jesus’ intention – that that individual would be strengthened in the love of God and so make the love of God known to the world. Prayer leads us into a deeper relationship with the Lord, which should in turn impact our action. So I propose also committing this week to carry out some concrete act of mercy (see the Spiritual and Corporal works of mercy for ideas). Finally, as we reflect on our Lord’s prayer for us, remember that all over the world prayer is constantly being offered for the needs of the Church. This happens in a unique and beautiful way in monasteries, where generous monks and nuns have dedicated their lives as a living sacrifice, an offering to the Lord, and spend their days interceding on our behalf, even though they do not know us by name. The love with which the Son loves the Father is echoed in their prayer. Their intercession for us helps us continue to live in the fruitfulness of the prayer of Jesus!
Our Lord has prayed for us. May His prayer help us to know the power of God’s love and to bring that love to bear on the world!