I couldn't agree more with what he said for I know I have many brothers and sisters blessing me by way of intercessory prayer. The last seven months are proof, for I have, more or less, taken to marriage like a duck to water. Even I am surprised by how easily I have managed to take things in my stride. Not saying that it has all been smooth sailing, or that there haven't been moments of great frustration, deep hurt, and even despair, but all these difficulties seem to have been swept up in the strength of prayer to dissipate momentarily like fine mist in the warm rays of the morning sun.
In these last months, I have been given the wisdom to know what to do: when to hold, when to fold, and when to walk away (thanks, Kenny Rogers). I know the wisdom is not mine but the prompting of the Holy Spirit for the shift from completely clueless to instinctively knowing what to do is indescribable. The knowing is not a dead sure certainty, but instead works through an openness to being led by the Spirit; to be able to go with the flow of the situation, and to respond with flexible and humble sensitivity even when one is feeling quite unforgiving and hard. To be able to speak with gentle diplomacy rather than stubborn pride is remarkable, and I can only thank those who pray for me and desire that both P and I grow in the way of love and understanding in our marriage.
Apart from being a beneficiary of the intercessory prayer of others, it is a healthy spiritual practice to do likewise for those around us. Not only are we reciprocating or paying it forward when we pray for others, a good thing in itself, but we also gain a more grounded perspective and become more outward-looking as people, connecting unselfishly with others. No longer do our own problems consume all our attention. And when we go beyond prayer in helping others, we inevitably help ourselves grow in maturity.
Yesterday P and I attended the 10th anniversary memorial mass of Father Louis Fossion* at Church of the Holy Spirit and I was bowled over by how palpable the love in the room was, the love that the congregation had for this priest. P and I agreed that this man must be a saint for he touched the lives of many and changed the course of history in his own way. Of the eight priests in attendance, more than half became priests due, in no small part, to his influence, his authentic spirituality and lived love for Christ.
At the memorial mass, I realized fully that the communion of saints** is lived not just after we die and attain sainthood (some faster than others), but even as we live and breathe. (Guess it's hard for me to see myself and those around me as saints, most times.) As Father Paul Staes said, we did not come to pray for Father Fossion, but to pray with him. We, and those who are no longer with us, we collectively make up the communion of saints. We are all connected to each other in life and beyond death, and this connection becomes fully activated and alive in prayer. Last night, the communion of saints of both the living and the dead were joined as one, gloriously giving praise to God.
Thus, I not only have the intercessory power of saints official and unofficial to tap on, but the intercessory prayer of my brothers and sisters in Christ as well. They are my communion of saints just as beloved saints like Saint Therese of Lisieux are, and holy men such as Father Fossion who gave his life in service so that many could come to the faith not just in Singapore, but in Mongolia and the Philippines. I can even ask for intercessory assistance from departed loved ones who may still be in purgatory.
As I continue to intercede daily not just for those whom I love, but also those in need of prayer, I would like to thank all who intercede for me for I am grateful that I am doing well in life. Thank you for being my communion of saints.
* To find out more about the amazing and beloved Father Fossion, go to:
** The Catechism of the Catholic Church states simply that the communion of saints is the Church. New Advent has this definition to offer : The communion of saints is the spiritual solidarity which binds together the faithful on earth, the souls in purgatory, and the saints in heaven in the organic unity of the same mystical body under Christ its head, and in a constant interchange of supernatural offices. The participants in that solidarity are called saints by reason of their destination and of their partaking of the fruits of the Redemption (1 Corinthians 1:2 — Greek Text).