Life is to live and life is to give and talents are to use for good if you choose. Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be strong. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks, then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life, which has come to you by the grace of God. But everyone needs someone, knowing that somewhere someone is thinking of you.Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)
The Father Solanus Guild, the organization responsible for the cause of Blessed Solanus Casey, notes that Fr. Solanus often prayed these words which were adapted from a poem written by Phillips Brooks. In doing so, I surmise that this future saint must have been drawn to the life-giving reality present in the many words used by this poet, words that clearly characterize the life of a person who is richly in tune with the life of God: giving, talents, powers, miracles, wonder, richness, grace, and prayer.
For Solanus, the Divine tune, if you will, means that our lives should always be focused upon God. As such, it follows that a person focused upon God will live a life that is centered in prayer. And through that life of prayer, a great relationship develops. Things once thought to be impossible become possible. Our prayers, while possessing the possibility to move mountains, also possess the strength to move those smaller hills that surround and occupy our life.
Some years ago, I had the “fortune” of listening to a priest speak of a “bad week” he had once encountered, one that included a series of events that had all but consumed his sanity. While not eager to hear about the misfortune of others, I nonetheless found his story enlightening. For him, a litany of weeklong problems continued through late Friday morning when suddenly a knock on the door of the rectory brought a different insight.
It was a soft knock, and when he opened the door, standing on the doorstep was a mother, father, and their teenage daughter. After inviting them inside, the priest listened to the mother explain that they had found him through the diocesan website and that he was the priest who, many years ago, had baptized their infant daughter. Now standing before him, the mother noted that from the time she was able, her daughter had always included him in her evening prayers.
When it was the daughter’s turn to speak, she smiled and thanked him for baptizing her and revealed that the content of her prayers were always that God would grant him happiness and safety.
As they left, the priest not only thanked them, but thanked God, too.
Despite the hills and obstacles of life, the power of prayer and God’s love really does cut through. How good indeed it is to know that someone is praying for you.