I think one of the joys of heaven will be to finally see what our prayers actually wrought. Yes, even our distracted and imperfect prayers, by God’s grace may well have had the power to bring immense healing, cast out demons, cancel discouragement, push back temptation and even turn away wars.
I know that I am the result of prayer. My conversion to the Lord and my subsequent healing over the years are inexplicable to me, except that someone, indeed, some many, were praying for me.
And so, something tells me that a special joy of heaven will be to know and see what prayer did for us, and what our prayers did for others. For now, things can seem discouraging at times. The effects of our prayers may seem subtle or even non-existent. But God is working his purposes out and collecting and dispensing the fruits of our prayer in due season.
Anyway, I thought of all this yesterday as I was reading from The Dialogue of Catherine of Siena. And therein, the Lord speaks to her of what the prayers of the faithful do and how they release grace and set souls free. Here are some excerpts:
The sufferings you endure will, through the power of charity, suffice to win both atonement and reward for you and others…The stains of your foolishness will be blotted out, and I will no longer remember that you have ever offended me.
As for the others, because of your loving charity, I will pardon them in proportion to their receptiveness….They will come in this way to truly know and regret their sins, and so, because of my servants’ prayers they will receive the fruit of grace….They will receive both forgiveness and its gifts, unless their stubbornness is such that they despair….
I look on them and give them light. I rouse the dog of conscience within them. I make them sensitive to the perfume of virtue and give them delight in the fellowship of my servants. Sometimes I allow the world to show them its true colors….that they may know how inconstant it is and be more eager to seek their homeland in eternal life.
The eye cannot see nor the tongue tell, nor can the heart imagine how many paths and methods I have, solely for love and to lead them back to grace so that my truth may be realized in them. (Dialogue # 4)
Yes, here is what prayer and sacrifice unleash. Continue to pray and do not doubt the words of the Lord who says that our heart cannot imagine all the paths he can open for others back to grace, the Church and the Sacraments, back to Him.
Of this I am a witness that, by the prayers of others, especially my Grandmother and mother, that the dog of conscience was roused, the glory of virtue came to be appreciated, the gift of walking in fellowship with the Church was restored, the true colors of the world were seen, and the goal of heaven loved more dearly. I have see these things come alive, mysteriously, but truly. And I know it was not me. It was the prayers, and it was the Lord.
Keep praying and don’t lose heart. It was bear its fruit in due season.