Lately I've been becoming more aware of how crucial prayer is in life. At a recent social gathering of like-minded Catholics, we were discussing our priests and the crisis the faithful are experiencing.
By crisis I don't mean the sex abuse one, or the priest shortage one. It's the lack of esteem that many priests seem to have for the faithful who want to press higher in their walks with God. It's almost like we are begging them to help us be more devout, and they're responding with, "It's OK, you don't have to try so hard."
But our priests are human, they are frail, and they need our support. We must keep them in prayer, for "the effective, fervent prayer of the righteous man availeth much" as Scripture tells us. With the power of prayer on our side, we can help our priests be more than mere administrators, counsellors, or public speakers. They can rediscover their true role as shepherds, as God's holy pastors to guide his flock to him.
At that point in the discussion I was convicted to examine my own prayer practices. I asked the group for a show of hands of who does not regularly pray for their priest.
Most of the people there did not raise their hands, but I was in the minority that did. So I decided to do something about my lack of devotion in this matter.
I made a "pilgrimage" of sorts to Wal-Mart and bought a sheet of foam-filled poster board; you know, the really stiff stuff? I cut it up and glued it together until it would stand up on our floor. Then I put on it a big picture of the Pope and a number of compartments to slide other pictures in, including one for our priest. Then I printed out some pictures of people near and dear to us and stuck their faces on index cards (those things are mighty useful, eh Owen? [check out that link, and while you're there, buy one!]). Each night our girls take one card each and we offer up prayers for the people we take from the pile, in addition to the Pope and Fr. Bo.
So for those of my readers who are local to us (or those we have pictures of) don't be surprised to see your face smiling from an index card the next time you visit. And be warned: if you make a funny face and we get it on camera, that's the face we'll use for your card. The giggle factor is huge when approaching our heavenly Father. Gillian & Ed - we've already got some funny ones of you....
Ultimately, the goal with this project is to instill a regular pattern of prayer in our home. It's easy to start a good habit, but much easier to stop it. Our kids actually argue over who gets to pick the first card - but they sure want to participate.