“Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
If I were to take a poll of the people reading this blog post, how many do you think would say they were praying for the conversion of friends or family members? I do not think it is an exaggeration to say probably 100% of us are. For many of us it is the most fervent prayer in our minds and hearts.
But how many of us are worried that the Lord will not hear our prayers? Or will somehow be prevented from answering them and our loved ones will be forever lost? Do we feel despair over their eternal souls? Or do we approach the throne of grace with boldness, confidence, trust, and gratitude?
Read what St Augustine says about the story of the paralytic in his sermon “On Pastors”:
“Lovers of the world, however, who are kept from good works by some evil desire, lie sick and listless, and it is this sickness that deprives them of any strength to accomplish good works.
“The paralytic was like that. When his bearers could not bring him in to the Lord, they opened the roof and lowered him down to the feet of Christ. Perhaps you wish to do this in spirit: to open the roof and to lower a paralytic soul down to the Lord. All its limbs are lifeless, it is empty of every good work, burdened with its sins, and weak from the illness brought on by its evil desires. Since all its limbs are helpless, and the paralysis is interior, you cannot come to the physician. But perhaps the physician is himself concealed within; for the true understanding of Scripture is hidden. Reveal therefore what is hidden, and thus you will open the roof and lower the paralytic to the feet of Christ.”
Think how difficult it must have been for that man’s friends to carry him onto the roof, disassemble it, and lower him down without causing him further harm! What faith! What boldness! What persistence!
Although St. Augustine’s discourse is directed to pastors, it also applies to the ordinary priestly ministry of the baptized. Our Lord wants to save souls. He longs for it. Salvation is the business that heaven conducts with earth. Through our prayers and sacrifices, we become agents of heaven’s business on earth. As agents of heaven on earth, God’s faithful have an obligation to carry the paralytic into the presence of Jesus. We carry them in prayer and fasting, taking great care to cause them no further harm, believing and trusting that our Lord will honor our efforts. After all, we are working for heaven.
Having gone to such lengths, will our prayers be denied or our efforts ignored by so loving a Savior? On the contrary! St. Faustina tells us there is no one beyond the reach of Divine Mercy. Let that give us great hope as we approach the throne of mercy with boldness on behalf of poor souls.
Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us!
From my other blog, the Pelianito Journal blog:
Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. Matthew 8:24-26
“Beloved, you know, don’t you, that I have the power to save?”
Yes, Lord, I believe with all my heart.
“Then child, when you pray for souls, pray with confidence to the God whom even the wind and the waves obey. Let none perish on account of your lack of faith. Swallow back or spit out any vile excuse or objection, any judgment you may be tempted to make in regard to souls. There is no one beyond the reach of my mercy. Pray for all, especially those whose sins are most repugnant to you. They are the ones most in danger of perishing, the ones most in need of my mercy. Pray with faith, dear child, knowing that I hear you and want to save all from eternal death. Be an instrument of my Divine Mercy and the final victory will be much sweeter.”
Lord, here I am, send me. Make me a willing instrument of your mercy. By the intercession of the Blessed Mother and the Gloriana*, increase the effectiveness of my prayers for the salvation of souls and for your glory. Amen.
(*Gloriana: The angels and saints in perfect communion with the Blessed Trinity; the perfect unity of heaven.)