Some saints are easily recognizable by their inspiring works or words. Other saints are hidden, but their holiness upholds us through their prayers. Anna was one of these saints, a woman well on in years. Though ravaged with health issues that limited her activity and mobility, Anna was a permanent fixture in our church pews. She not only attended every mass and prayer service, she came early and left late. If there was a day-long Eucharistic Adoration, she was present for each and every minute.
Anna reminded me of the the prophet Anna, in Luke’s gospel story of the Presentation, who “never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day.” I asked her once, what do you do during all those hours? Her simple answer, “I pray for each and every one of you.” Every temple, every church, every community needs an Anna.
I belong to a wonderful online faith community, Our Lady of the Round Table. We are eight women from around the world; the USA, Ireland, France, Kenya, Australia and Canada. Each day, we bring many prayers to the table…so many prayers. The list of names and needs grows daily. I get overwhelmed, forgetting whom we are praying for. Thankfully, we have our own “Anna” among us.
Susan is a woman who not only remembers each and every intention, whether formally requested or mentioned in a passing comment, she lovingly lists the names each day. Her list becomes a prayerful litany, inviting us all to speak the name in our heart and lift their need to the heavens. Susan is our community’s memory. She nudges us to be faithful to those words, sometimes too easily rolled off our tongues, “I’ll pray for you”.
One of the first requests that Pope Francis made of us was “pray for me”. There is power in our prayers, whether we ask for them or promise to offer them for others. The mission of the communion of saints is to pray with us and pray for us.
God bless all the everyday saints here on earth who love and support us with their prayers.