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The miracle of intercessory prayer

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Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 08/31/22

Jesus lifts us up and puts us back on our feet by giving us a purpose again, and a reason to serve.

Today’s readings can be found here.

“Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her.”

Today’s Gospel brings us a clear example of what we call intercessory prayer. Praying for someone is not a magical act, but it is a way of concretely loving them. In fact, it is precisely the mediation of these people that enables Christ to accomplish something for this woman: “He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her.”

The first miracle is Jesus’ “standing over her.” Our lives are radically changed when we realize that we are not alone, and that someone has drawn near to us, especially when perhaps everyone else is gone. Jesus does this; he approaches us when we are alone and without strength.

I would dare say that he comes close to us even when we are without faith and are not praying. In fact, the Gospel does not relate to us any words from this woman, only the prayers of others. And in this closeness he lifts us up, and he puts us back on our feet by giving us a purpose again, a reason to serve: “She got up immediately and waited on them.”

Here is the miracle of intercession: praying to the point where the Lord can act through us in the lives of others. What this implies, however, is that praying does not mean making only our words and faith available, but also our hands and our commitment. In this way our body also becomes intercession; it becomes like a sacrament through which Christ touches the lives of others.

Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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