Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The prayers of the Saints...

"Lady, when on that night I left the Island that was once your England, your love went with me, although I could not know it, and could not make myself aware of it. It was your love, your intercession for me before God that was preparing the seas before my ship, laying open the way for me to another country. I was not sure where I was going and I could not see what I would do when I got to New York. But you saw further and clearer than I and you opened the seas before my ship whose track led me across the waters to a place I had never dreamed of, and which you were even then preparing for me to be my rescue and my shelter and my home. And when I thought there was no God and no love and no mercy, you were leading me all the while into the midst of His love and His mercy and taking me, without my knowing anything about it, to the house that would hide me in the secret of His Face."

Thomas Merton. The Seven Storey Mountain. New York: Harcourt, Brace: pp. 129-130.

However we understand the way this happens, each of us is so much more dependent than we know on the prayers of others. Our ontological status, if you like, as members of the Body of Christ is conditioned by the love and longing of other members, whether alive and known to us, or long since present with our Lord in glory - that "cloud of witnesses" in Hebrews 12:1.

I know very well just how much of my own path to "a place I had never dreamed of," my very life in fact, has depended upon others, some of whom I know and might speak of one day, and some I know I'll meet one day with delighted astonishment, but whom I have no inkling here on earth...

Thanks be to God for their faithfulness, when mine has so often failed...

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