I Get by with a Little Help from my Friends
It's only Wednesday and already I've had one of those weeks. There's so much going on that it's kind of pointless to even make a list.
You know what's getting me through? Intercessory prayer is the ticket this go around. I believe in asking people who've died to pray for me.
Let me explain how I've come to this (besides the fact that I'm Catholic and the whole intercessory thing goes with the territory). When life gets tough, I never hesitate to ask my friends and family to pray for me. It probably started when school got a little more challenging. "Mom, please pray for my test today." It continued with requests like, "I have a job interview. Will you please pray?"; "I’m praying about my vocation. Pray I can hear God."; "Please pray I don't die when I jump out of this plane." The list could go on and on. Long story short, prayer works, so I use it and ask everyone to do the same.
In the last several years I have suffered some crushing losses. I've unfortunately had lots of family deaths but all of those gave me time to prepare. Most of them were suffering tremendously by the time they died so their deaths were not only expected, but were kind of a relief. I knew they were in a better place and relieved of all their pain. Last year, a priest, who was a brother to me (literally called my parents mom and dad), died rather suddenly. He was younger than me and it was the first death I truly grieved. New Year's Day I lost a dear friend and neighbor who was like a second father to me. It was totally unexpected and once again I was devastated.
Just this week I was on the phone coordinating some details for a rehearsal dinner I'm cooking next weekend for 100 people. What? I haven't told you about this? That's probably because it makes me a little anxious to talk about it. I mean I agreed to do the dinner for a guest list of 45 that's grown to 100 and I feel a bit out of my element. Anyway, I was having this conversation while I was cooking dinner and the kids were having one of these moments and well, by the time I figured out that I didn't have the answers to her questions and that the dinner was only two weeks away, I hung up the phone and was hyperventilating (Can you tell by my super-long sentence?).
I was moments away from grabbing a paper bag, which I don't have anyway and would have probably sent me over the edge, when I put down my spatula and said, "Okay Bob, pray for me. I really need your help here." You see, Bob was going to make all the Italian sausage for the dinner and he was a pro at providing food for lots and lots of people, so I figured if he can't help me physically, he could help me spiritually. Let me tell you, the moment those words left my lips (yes, I prayed them out loud because it was too noisy in my house to hear myself think), I felt peace. I could see his face and almost feel him next to me telling me to calm down, everything will be fine.
Bob was the supreme organizer. Who better to line things up for me in Heaven and make sure all goes well down here? When I asked him to pray for me, God reminded me of all the wisdom Bob has given me through the years. I knew I had a heavenly advocate and I could do my best to emulate the qualities I loved best about him.
Chidi, my brother/priest friend, gets the big requests. He was a Nigerian spit-fire for the Lord. He had big ideas, bold prayers and high ideals. I give him what he was good at and I know he's praying for me too.
Now don't go thinking I've gone all crazy here. I pray to God, not my friends. But just like my friends here, sometimes I ask my heavenly friends for a little help too. I ask them to rip the roof off and get me to Jesus. Get it?
One of the greatest gifts of my faith is the multitude of saints I have to look to for help. Their lives give me inspiration, courage, hope, fortitude...you name it. There are patron saints of just about everything. St. Jude, he helps with impossible tasks. St. Raphael is the patron of happy meetings. I talked to him a lot in my single days. St. Anthony, he takes care of lost things and I wear the poor guy out.
The list goes on and on. These saints don't lessen my faith, they make it better. They provide examples...really good ones, to follow. They lend a helping hand and boy, do I need that.
So I will continue to pray to God. I will ask Jesus to bless me. I will request the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I will ask those around me for a little help along the way. And, I will ask those who have gone before me to help me too because goodness knows, I need all the help I can get.