“With love & prayers”
Do you ever end a letter with these or similar words? I often do it myself, & when I do I mean what I say. I really mean that I will be holding that person in my prayer. But what, if anything, do I mean by that? What good do my prayers do for the person I am writing to? Does my promise to pray for them offer anything more than a warm feeling if someone is thinking of them – no bad thing in itself, of course, but is it a prayer? I have struggled greatly with this problem through the years, & seriously wondered what intercessory prayer can mean, in the presence of a God who knows the needs of those we pray for far better than we ever could. We can reel off a list of names & requests like a checklist that may leave us feeling satisfied that we have ‘prayed’ for the people on the list, but have we actually done anything at all? & what, if anything, could we do more than that?
Journeying to the centre
One way that helps me make some sense of intercessory prayer is a mental picture I have of the human family as the circumference of a vast circle. Each of us has a place on this circumference, just as we have a place on the surface of the earth. We feel close to some people who seem to be ‘in the same place’ as we are on the circle of life, & we feel literally diametrically opposed to others, who happen to be (in terms of their opinions, or temperament or even their spirituality) on the opposite side of the circle. But the whole world is centred on God, in whom it has its entire existence. God is the hub around which it all spins. When we go into prayer, we are at the very least signalling our desire to be with him in that centre. We discover that the deepest centre of ourselves is in some mysterious way, beyond our understanding, also the centre who is God. Our own truest self is a particle of God’s self. (Taste & See: Adventures in Prayer: Margaret Silf)
Progress continues towards the establishment of a Dementia Hub for the Village & locality, centred on St Hilda’s Parish, the local Patient’s Forum, & our own Parish, which will provide help & advice for Dementia sufferers & their carer’s, probably with a monthly gathering for tea & a chat, with additional opportunities for carers to meet for mutual support & encouragement. The success of the initiative will be grounded on the cooperation of as many of us as possible in the Village & surroundings. There will be a recruitment meeting in the Village Hall on Mon 12th Feb at 7pm to explain in more detail our first proposals & to seek your advice & experience. Louisa Seymour, our coordinator, is delighted with the generous response of last weekend in encouraging individuals to take part in a mail drop this coming Monday or Tuesday. We have had nine volunteers so far, who will form the nucleus of a delivery group alongside people from St Hilda’s & the Patient’s Forum. Please encourage as many as possible to come to our recruitment meeting on the 12th Feb at 7pm, & keep the initiative much in your prayers.
Please could I ask you to note the date of our next Parish Forum on Sun 25th Feb at 11.15am in the Parish Hall. Our last Forum was in Nov 2016 & there are important issues to update you on, & to seek your advice.
With love & prayers, Fr Bede.