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Saint of the Day: St. Irenaeus of Lyons
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One of the best gifts you can give a friend in need


Yolanda Sun/Unsplash | CC0

Cerith Gardiner - published on 07/24/19

And it's an exclusively Christian gift!

Seeing our loved ones suffer often leaves us feeling powerless. Of course, we can lend a helping hand if it’s a practical issue, but what can we do when it’s something beyond our control? We can offer an empathetic ear, give some well-meaning advice, and say a few prayers. Yet, there is something else that every Christian has at their disposal that can bring comfort in a way we might not expect. Let me explain …

The last few months have personally been very trying. And when I say “trying,” I mean the most stressful moments of my entire life. I won’t bore you with all the details, but suffice it to say that I’ve been in very regular communication with the Big Man upstairs.

While He’s been a great source of comfort, there’s a part of me that feels my prayers are just not enough. In fact, sometimes I wonder if I’m doing it right or if I’m being self-centered — after all, my loved ones are in good health and we have food on the table. Then, as things were getting really bad, a minor miracle happened.

A great friend of mine — who seriously has the patience of a saint — sent me an email saying her local parish priest had added me to his prayer intentions and would be saying a Mass for me. I literally burst out crying as I felt a huge weight fall from my shoulders.

It was the strangest feeling. I’d asked priests to include friends and family in their prayer intentions in the past. It was an obvious thing to do. Yet, I’d never been the recipient of this wonderful source of comfort. I hadn’t really appreciated the power of others joining in prayer for me. I’m not sure why I reacted so strongly to this kind gesture, but one thing is for certain — the beauty of that promise of intercessory prayer has given me the strength to keep going, to keep on saying my own prayers in gratitude for my very own Catholic village.


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