“I ask…you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.”(Penitential Rite).
I cringe with guilt at Mass when we say that part of the prayer. I feel I never remember until I’m at Mass and we get to that line. Why not? Are there people that I do remember in my daily prayers? Absolutely; they are the people I know by name. But the fellow members of my parish that are unknown to me, do I pray for them and their needs? I very much appreciate when the Mass intention is for the people of the parish. I feel so special, that as a member of the parish, it’s as if that Mass is for me and my needs.
Prayer intentions often group people: the sick, the dead, the unemployed, and I don’t usually fit into those categorizations. Why is it so hard to remember to ask God to grant all the people of the parish a simple blessing to make their day just a little better — a little brighter?
One evening at the adoration chapel, I finally remembered. At the beginning of each decade of the rosary, I was inspired to pray for various groups of people, like the children of the parish, those preparing for the sacrament of reconciliation and those who don’t pay attention at Mass. My intention when I began the rosary was for the whole parish, but there was something special in praying for a smaller group of people. It was almost like getting to know them, or a particular aspect of that group. It made the prayer more personal, because I meditated on that aspect while I recited the decade, asking God to help them in their needs.
Occasionally I am prompted to say the Divine Mercy chaplet for those who will receive the sacrament of reconciliation during that week and for the priest hearing their confessions. It takes courage, humility and love for God to confess one’s sins to Him. Through the Divine Mercy chaplet, I pray that God’s mercy will touch their hearts and strengthen them to make a good confession.
It may not be second nature to me yet. I hope in the practice of praying for those in the parish community on a regular basis, when we say that line at Mass, I have contributed prayers for those journeying to heaven with me.