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Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

My dear encountered couples:

We must never neglect prayers because Jesus says that evil is always waiting around for us. When an unclean spirit goes out of someone,” he said, “it wanders through arid wastes, searching for a resting place; failing to find one, it returns with seven other spirits far worse than itself.” Now we don’t want anything like that to happen, do we? We should never neglect prayers. We and our loved ones need God’s protection all the time.

But sometimes we might not feel much like praying. Our list of daily prayers and intentions gets longer as the years go by. And there’s always someone to add. There’s mom, dad, big brother, little sister, Uncle Edgar, Grandma Elsa, flood victims, hurricane victims, the starving here, the homeless there, the sick every-where. You say a Hail Mary for this one, that one, and many, many other ones. You pray to the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Mother, this saint, that saint, a whole bunch of saints, and you never forget your guardian angel. All that is wonderful. But it can become a real chore sometimes, especially when you’re tired. I doubt that God wants it that way.

There’s nothing wrong with scaling down. One prayer for many or for everybody, well prayed with love, can be of much more value than a whole lot of prayers shot off to heaven with the speed of light and as a result of self-imposed obligation.

Remember, only one “Hail Mary” by the angel Gabriel brought heaven to earth; only one sentence from the lips of Jesus, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit,” brought earth into heaven. Don’t give up praying, not even for a day. But your list of prayers needn’t become an unpleasant burden. It’s the love for God and people in your heart that counts most, even more than the love on your lips. Sometimes when you are very tired you could just say, “God, I trust you to take care of all those I love, even those I’m not too sure I love. Amen.” He knows who they are.

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