When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
First of all, don’t worry about what words to use when you begin to pray for someone who has been away from the Lord – from the Church – for a long time. Just talk to God about the situation as you would to a good friend. In your own words, tell God your fear, your concern, perhaps your sense of hopelessness/discouragement.
These are two very good questions which require a clear answer, especially in the times in which we live. Noise surrounds us these days – more than ever before. Between keeping up with our jobs, schoolwork, social media and the daily news – not to mention spending quality time with family and friends each day, we are squeezed for time. We struggle to keep up.
But if we are going to make a real effort to keep God in our daily lives, we have to shut out the noise, at least for a few minutes here and there. Once we have made that commitment, we need to pray for greater faith:
Some questions have come to me regarding the “dark night of the soul.” What does that mean? Why does it happen, and to what end?
First of all, the most important question to ask is this: Is my relationship with the Lord growing through prayer? Do I pray every day? If not, why not?
As part of this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis designated a Holy Door at St. Peter’s in Rome, and asked that all Bishops establish a particular door in each diocesan cathedral that would be available as a pilgrimage site for everyone. The door itself is a symbol in recognition of Christ – the sole door through which we enter salvation (Jn 10:9) and the one way that leads to the Father. (Jn 14:6)
To gather in Christ’s name means we want to come together to seek the will of God, and then to pray that his will may become a reality for us, for our group, for the person for whom we are praying, or for the difficult set of circumstances which needs a resolution.
On December 8, 2015, Pope Francis, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy – a year to learn how God forgives us and extends mercy to us. It is also a year to learn how we, in turn, are called to love as he loves, and extend that same mercy to all we meet.
I don’t know of any time or any season in the year when it is comfortable to talk about grief – how to personally handle it in our own lives, or how to support others going through the loss of a loved one.