I have noticed it happening on social media over time. Some people no longer say that they pray for each other but send other kinds of ambiguous greetings or condolences lacking any mention of God, religion or faith. Let me give you a few of these taken directly from Facebook. The comments were sent to a person to express sympathy after the death of a family member:
· Sending you love and light
· Sending lots of good vibes your way
· Sending wishes for comfort and peace
· Sending you electronic hugs
· Sending you comfort and light
· Sending love and strength
At other times I have witnessed people send others good energy or positive thoughts.
I wonder if such people understand the value of prayer? Or are they afraid to admit that they pray? Or do they not believe in God? When we pray for others, we ask for God's help. We admit that we depend on Almighty God as our Creator since we are His creatures. We make a profession of faith in God who is all-powerful, all-loving, etc., and Whom we believe can help us in every situation.
In like manner, when we ask a saint or saints to intercede for us, we are requesting those whom we believe to be already in the presence of Almighty God for all eternity, to petition God on our behalf. Please pray (to God) for us.
Before I went to interview the Confirmation candidates last Sunday evening, I was watching the news. A story that struck me reported that in a recent Pew survey the number of Americans who have no religion or religious affiliation is now about 26% of the population. This is an increase of 9% in the past decade. Such people are sometimes referred to as nones, since they check the box or answer "none" when asked their religious affiliation. The alarming trend is that many in younger generations want nothing to do with organized religion. Sometimes they declare they are spiritual but not religious. Ever more worrisome are those who say that they no longer believe. Period.
As one who has close relatives who no longer go to Mass, who find no immediacy in having their children baptized, who are ignorant of or who simply disregard traditional Church teachings, I worry tremendously. However, I also pray for them. I remember them in the Masses I offer. I beg Almighty God on their behalf because I do not want to see them lost for all eternity. I care about the condition of their immortal souls as I do the souls of all my spiritual children. (After all, I am called "Father" for a reason.)
Things cannot continue in the nation and in the Church business as usual. God sees all, knows all, cares for us all, and will act accordingly as He sees appropriate. Precisely what He will do, I claim no personal knowledge. However, I have previously given reasons (see last week's bulletin / blog) why I have hope.
Jesus continues to love His Bride, the Church.
Meanwhile, I pray . . . and pray . . . and pray.
Fr. Ed Namiotka