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25. The Practice of Intercession

Read by Br. David Vryhof

Read by Br. David Vryhof

From the beginning the Church has entrusted to the monastic communities a special re­sponsibility for intercession.  Our hearts must always be open to those who ask for our prayers and depend on us to share their burdens.  We will rejoice with them when the gift we have sought together from the Lord is given them.  And we will stay joined to them in their struggle if God’s response seems to deny their request or calls them to wait.

Our prayers for one another, those we serve, the Church and the whole world, the living and the dead, are gathered up in our worship, particularly at the prayers of the people at the Eucharist. We should gladly use the opportunities provided in the liturgy of the Eucharist and in the Daily Office to offer our intercessions aloud as the Spirit moves us.

Once every quarter the community devotes a day to the offering of prayer and fasting.  On these days it is our custom to pray together in the presence of the eucharistic elements.  Through our fasting and these special times of prayer, we open ourselves so that the Spirit can draw us into the prayer of adoration, and move us to offer intercession for all the people of God.

We shall intercede also in our personal prayers day by day, appealing to God to pour out his saving grace on particular people and situations.  In intercession we shall discover the power to love those we find difficult.  Father Benson taught that “in praying for others we learn really and truly to love them.  As we approach God on their behalf we carry the thought of them into the very being of eternal Love, and as we go into the being of him who is eternal Love, so we learn to love whatever we take with us there.”  God will also inspire each one of us to make certain causes our special concern.  We may also be moved to draw the needs of the world into our contemplative prayer, holding them silently in the radiance of God’s mercy within our hearts.

Intercession is not an intermittent activity, restricted to those times in which we are de­liberately praying for the world and for people.  The entire life of each member of Christ’s body is intercessory.  Christ takes up our actions and everyday experiences into the eternal offering of his whole self to the Father.  If we abide in Christ he will show us that he accepts our labors, our struggles, our afflictions and the ordinary actions of our daily lives as sacrificial, and uses them to bless and uphold the world.

2 thoughts on “25. The Practice of Intercession

  1. I pray nightly for a woman with cancer who is often rejecting of me. I often pray dutifully, not with the passion that I do for others. I find incredibly helpful the words about the power to love those we find difficult. “In praying for others …as we go into the being of him who is eternal love, so we learn to love whatever we take with us there.” The burden is not on me to like her better, but just to keep praying and to be open to the teaching process of the Holy Spirit.

  2. This chapter of the Rule intersects most beautifully with the passage in The Revelations of Divine Love in which Blessed Julian describes Christ’s thirst for us. In lifting up everyone in our life, those we love and who love us, those in need, those whom we have offended, we are connecting ourselves to Christ’s thirst for all of us, what she calls his “love-longing…to have us altogether whole in Him.” Knowing that somehow transforms the simplest and most fleeting prayer into something amazing, a grace which has no limits.

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