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handsprayThere’s an interesting juxtaposition in this morning’s gospel (MT 18:15-20). It’s good advice at the beginning where Jesus says, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone…”(emphasis mine). He goes on to state a process of how to proceed if that doesn’t bring resolution but just that line set me to thinking about how much easier it seems to talk to others about our grievances than to engage directly with the cause of the distress.

At the end of the gospel Jesus is talking about another kind of encounter. “If two or three of you agree about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” Someone called our house last week asking for prayers for her 14 week-old grandson and her mother, both of whom need heart surgery. I got the call and she told me that, years ago, when her son had been in a terrible accident from which doctors had told her he would likely not recover, our Sister Elizabeth had told her she would pray for him and ask all the Sisters to do the same. Her son recovered with only a slight disability so she has great faith in our prayer. I drove yesterday to the Boston area where my sister will undergo hip replacement surgery tomorrow. There are people all over the Northeast and beyond who will be praying for success and speedy recovery for her.

It seems that these two examples of encounter are really about an intention toward the good. Willingness to reconcile with someone always trumps the result of complaint about another’s actions. Willingness to believe in the power of prayer is similarly effective. The intimacy of having an honest conversation about our hurts or of sharing our need for help in a difficult situation is always worth the effort it takes to ask and even the asking can be its own reward.

So here I am, asking for your prayer for tomorrow as well as your indulgence over the next few days when I am not sure I will be in a position to blog. Be assured, however, that I am confident in the prayer that accompanies us and the surgeon and that I will spread the word of success as soon as it is available to me. Gratitude and blessings to all around the world!