Brothers and sisters:
The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
And the one who searches hearts
knows what is the intention of the Spirit,
because he intercedes for the holy ones
according to God’s will.
Recently I have had pastoral visits with patients who have lived tough lives. They have stories of being abusive with family members and now they are dying. The family members struggle with the desire to make peace with those stories and the patients are pensive and quiet, especially when I ask them, “For what should we pray?”
The second reading from Roman’s: 8:26-27 stirred me as I thought about today’s entry. As a professional whose primary role is to bear witness to the stories of those I meet and to seek to be an instrument of God’s love and forgiveness, I need to draw on this Spirit to guide my prayers. The words in some ways are easy to say, however, words are empty if they aren’t filled with a spirit much bigger than me.
For me as a human it can be really hard to understand the violence that we are capable of doing to other humans, especially if it involves physical and sexual abuse. It’s just hard to be in those sacred places aware of the honor to be there and at the same time needing a much bigger spirit to pray the prayer. That is why this reading came at such a great time for me.
I need to be clear with myself that God is very big and knows the needs of all. This God is the one who was likened to the father thrilled when his prodigal son came home. This is the God, whose son Jesus healed both the physical and spiritual needs of people who crossed his path without being asked.
I think that all of us encounter people who call us to bigger places of love. This week I will try again to remember the following: “And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.”