On Saturday I was at the adoration chapel again to fill my hours. While I was there I decided it would be a good idea to look at the prayer request book that sits on the small table next to the couch behind the pews. Like I said, this place is really small and I think some of the older people prefer the couch to the hard pews. Bit I digress... The book isn't anything special to look at. Its one of those journal books you can buy at any bookstore with just pages of blank lines.
I'm not particularly an emotion guy and I can't remember the last time I actually cried outright but the words written in this book would thaw even the coldest stone on the block. As I began reading the intentions I realized this wasn't the kind of prayer request list I was use to. Usually you see things like "Please pray for so-n-so, he was just in a car accident." or "Please pray for us, we are in financial need." Things like that. Honorable for sure. I wasn't prepared for this...
"My Dear Lord Jesus..."
The people who attend the chapel write their prayers directly to the Blessed Sacrament as they sit there. Not one intention asked for prayers, except from the Saints. These were the intimate petitions from the heart and if anything was held back I certainly couldn't tell. These are just a few paraphases from the book that I can remember offhand:
"I just can't take the pain anymore. It hurts so bad. Padre Pio pray that I would still be cancer free."
"Why did you have to take my husband from me? Our children can't handle any more hardship."
"Please protect my son on his 3rd tour in Iraq. Make him content and calm. Remember his wife and kids..."
"O Sacred Heart, I'm so sorry for sinning against you..."
"O Jesus convert my family that they would not be lost..."
And it went on for pages and pages. This looked like the second book of the year already. It was only started at the beginning of May. As I kept reading and reading the handwritten prayers in the prayerbook I figured I should write something. The only thing I could think of as I got to the end of the book was:
"Lord, please grant the intentions of those who have put them down in this book. Send more workers for your vineyard and fill our monasteries once again."
I made my intention for other people because I couldn't fathom asking for anything else at that moment. These people are trying to be saints and are suffering in return. What else could you expect? God wants you to be healthy, wealthy, and wise? No. Sainthood means uniting yourself to his Cross by carrying your own.
We all carry our own particular crosses in life. Some are heavier than others. The heavier the cross the greater the grace, the greater the triumph. Whenever I meditate on the Sorrowful Mysteries and get to #4, the carrying of the Cross, I am reminded that there were at least 3 people who carried their cross that day. One cross rejected, one cross repented, and the other redeeming. But they were all carried to their final end. I am also struck by the fact that as an example to us, Christ's cross being so heavy that help was sent to bear the burden. This I believe was to give us hope in bearing our own, knowing that God will send help for us during the most desperate times when it seems we cannot go on. We may not have to bear it alone but we do bear it.
And I also remember my new favorite verse from Galatians 6:2 - "Bear one anothers burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ."