Father Stefan reflects on Pope Francis ‘Joy of the Gospel’ The missionary power of intercessory prayer

Pope Francis writes, “One form of prayer moves us take up the task of evangelization and the see the good of others: it is the prayer of intercession. Let us peer for a moment into the heart of Saint Paul, to see what his prayer was like. It was full of people: “…I constantly pray with you in everyone of my prayers for all of you…because I hold you in my heart.’ (Phil 1:4,7) Here we see that intercessory prayer does not divert us from true contemplation, since authentic contemplation always has a place for others…We can say that God’s Heart is touched by our intercession, yet in reality he is always there first. What our intercession achieves is that his power, his love and his faithfulness are shown ever more clearly in the midst of the people.” 

Canalamessa in his book, ‘Life in the Lordship of Christ’, writes,”The efficacy of the prayer of intercession doesn’t depend on ‘using many words’ (Mt 6:7) but on the level of union one manages to reach with the filial disposition of Christ. Rather than multiplying the words of intercession, it would probably be more useful to multiply the number of intercessors, that is to invoke the help of Mary and the Saints, as the Church does on the feast of all Saints when it asks God to grant what is being asked ‘through the many intercessors.’ The intercessors are also multiplied in numbers when we pray for one another. ‘If you pray for yourself- says St Ambrose – you are the only one praying for yourself and if each one prays only for himself, the grace the person praying receives will be smaller with respect to that obtained by him who intercedes for others, Now, as the individual prays for all, it comes about that all pray for the individual. Therefore, if you pray only for yourself, you will be the only one praying for yourself. If, on the other hand, you pray for all, all will be praying for you, as you are included in that all.” 

There is healing in the Body of Christ. The priests prays at mass, “Lord look not on our sins but on the faith of the Church.” We are members of the Body of Christ. When we pray we don’t have to just rely on our faith. We rest on the faith of Mary and all the saints. We rest on the faith of everyone who is with us at mass.

We read in Mark, “While he was delivering God’s word to them, some people arrived bringing a paralyzed man to him. The four who carried him were unable to bring him to Jesus because of the crows, so they began to open up the roof over the spot where Jesus was. When they had made a hole, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘My son, your sins are forgive,”(Mk 2:2-5)

Who faith did Jesus see? It was the faith of the four who carried the paralyzed man to Jesus. 

Let us pray for all and for each other. The Heart of God is moved by our prayers of intercession.


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