Pray for the Living and the Dead

15. A Moment for Mercy - Pray for the living and the dead

Surely God does need to be reminded that our loved ones are in need. So why pray for others? Praying for those in need can sometimes seem a very cheap and easy act of mercy. In fact it is a very demanding way of being merciful. 

We can pray only with our lips, believing deep down that things will not change, or feeling we will be satisfied only with a miracle. But real prayer, Pope Francis recently said, is much more than a mere aspirin, something I take to get rid of what is bothering me, or to make me feel good.  

True prayer is not to remind God what he needs to do, but to remind ourselves that we need God. If we believe we do not need God we will not be able to receive what he gives us, especially what we really need, more than material things: his Spirit of trust, love and mercy.  As our loved ones face the mysterious suffering of life, it becomes a real act of mercy to ask that they open their hearts to receive the gift of trusting the Father and his mercy.

In prayer we take others to the heart of God. We are admitting that however much we love and care for others, there is also someone else who loves and cares for them too, someone much more merciful and powerful than we can ever be. We are acknowledging that by placing them in God's hands we are helping them be in the best place they can be. 

“Prayer is a work of spiritual mercy that carries everything to the heart of God and says to him, 'You take it, you who are my father', according to Pope Francis. “God’s heart is not armoured with all sorts of security measures,  you can open it with a common key – prayer”.

By Paul Pace, SJ 

Today's video is Bach's Erbarme dich, mein Gott (Matthäuspassion) - Galou (Roth), which we hope will be conducive towards your prayer on today's reflection.

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