The Father Solanus Guild notes that this future saint often prayed these words which had been adapted from a poem written by Phillips Brooks:
Life is to live and life is to give and talents are to use for good if you choose. Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be strong. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks, then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life, which has come to you by the grace of God. But everyone needs someone, knowing that somewhere someone is thinking of you.
Not surprisingly, this prayer-filled saint was drawn to words that expressed the “power” of prayer. Not unlike Solanus, we pilgrims on the way are called to center our lives in prayer in order that a great relationship might develop. When we do, things once thought to be impossible become possible. While our prayers have the power to move mountains, they often provide us strength to navigate the smaller hills that surround and occupy our life.
Some years ago, a priest told me the story of a week that had all but consumed his sanity. Each day, it seemed as though a litany of problems had unrolled before his eyes. By late Friday morning, however, a knock on the rectory door brought a different insight.
It was a soft knock. And when he opened the door, a mother, father, and teenage daughter were standing at the doorstep. After inviting them inside, the priest listened as the parents explained that they had found him through the diocesan website. Excitedly, they noted that he was the priest who had, many years before, baptized their infant daughter. The mother then explained that from the time she was able, her daughter had always included him in evening prayers. When it was the daughter’s turn to speak, she smiled and thanked him for baptizing her. But then, she softly reminded him that her prayers for him were always two-fold: for happiness and that God would always keep him safe.
And as they left, the priest not only thanked them, but thanked God, too.
Despite the hills and obstacles of life, the power of prayer and God’s love really does cut through. How good indeed it is to know that someone is praying for you.