And the Prayer Goes On

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 Father Michael was always more than hap­py to pray. In fact, in one of the first emails I wrote to him, I asked for prayers for my niece. Emi­ly had been new­ly diag­nosed with mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis -just three weeks after her wed­ding. Always kind and reas­sur­ing, Father Michael wrote this back to me:

I promise to say Mass for your niece. Again, I can’t imag­ine what it is like to be so hap­py at one’s wed­ding and to have this diag­no­sis so soon after­wards. Did you see the lady with the cane giv­ing out Com­mu­nion yes­ter­day? She found out she had MS just a few weeks before her wed­ding. And that was 40 years ago. She is very hap­pi­ly mar­ried to a great and kind man.”

Father Michael con­tin­ued to pray for Emi­ly and often inquired about her MS treat­ments and gen­er­al health. Once I vis­it­ed him in the sac­risty and we just chat­ted and joked casu­al­ly. Father M then got very seri­ous and said he want­ed to ask a favor of me. I lis­tened atten­tive­ly. He told me again about Mrs. M (the lady in the quote above) and explained that he had asked her, a while back, to pray for my niece. “No names were men­tioned” he said. I grate­ful­ly expressed my thanks for the prayer.  Father Michael , smil­ing sweet­ly, said ” So I would real­ly love it , if you would start to pray for Mrs M. She’s recent­ly had some labs done and the num­bers were not good. She needs the prayer. And I thought it would be nice that you, being mem­bers of sep­a­rate fam­i­lies han­dling the same ill­ness,  would pray for each oth­er.”  Well, what could I say? “Of course I will Father M. I ‘d be hap­py to do that”.  Father Michael was so pleased.

So after that , when I’d vis­it, I’d often ask Father Michael how Mrs. M was doing. And he would be cau­tious­ly opti­mistic for the most part. He  would always thank me for my prayer. Even­tu­al­ly, Mrs. M improved quite a bit and Father Michael was very encour­aged and pleased. I then said to him a bit ten­ta­tive­ly “You know, I’m still pray­ing for her every day.” Father Michael said “Oh yes, I know you are! Thank you!” He said this to me with the biggest grin. I looked at him, thought about it and said ” I guess I will be pray­ing for Mrs. M .….always”. Father Michael said noth­ing in response,but gave me that huge grin again. I should have known I wouldn’t get off the hook! I’m think­ing Mrs M. is still pray­ing for Emi­ly, too.

Father Michael is tak­ing care of all kinds of heav­en­ly busi­ness in his new life. He wouldn’t be idle. Here on earth,still, Father’s thought­ful­ness, kind­ness  and grace live on in the prayers he request­ed of two fam­i­lies.

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