August 2, 2017
St. Eusebius, St. Peter Julian Eymard
Dear Family of Mary!
“Dear children! Be prayer…” (07/25/17)
Our Lady constantly is pointing us towards prayer. And the Rosary is one of her favorite prayers. In the Rosary we repeat, over and over, a request of Our Lady. We say, “Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.” We may be so used to these words that we don’t realize how important they are.
In the Homily of English Mass on July 25, 2017, the priest told a story that brought the importance of these words we pray into focus. I share it with you today, to help you pray the Hail Mary with more fervor:
One of my best friends, Fr. Seamus…we were in seminary together. We were very good friends and confidants. I was working in Argentina and he was working in England. And I was home on holidays, but the dates got mixed up and I was arriving home to Ireland from Argentina on the day that he was leaving to go back to England. But then I heard that he was going to Medjugorje for a week and I wanted to go to Medjugorje, so I said we could go out the same week, meet there, and have a visit together, in Medjugorje. And that’s what we did.
We had some great laughs. We had the opportunity to say mass together. We shared some beautiful experiences together of prayer, of fellowship and of grace. And Seamus was a man who had experienced cancer twice in his young life. He had different problems with his health. He was awaiting an operation on his knee. But I can say that I hadn’t seen him looking so well in a long, long time.
So we said goodbye to one another here in Medjugorje. And about six weeks later I got a phone call. He had celebrated the ten o’clock mass in the morning in his parish, and after mass he always had a cup of tea. And they ran out of ink. So Seamus said he has some ink upstairs, and he went. And the time came for half eleven Mass and there was no sign of Seamus. And they began to get a little worried, and they found him dead in his kitchen.
And the phone call was telling me this. Terrible thing. And I don’t know why God called him at that time, I miss him. His mother misses him. His parishioners miss him. But God called him home. And I was thinking of him, dying alone in that kitchen. And the awesome reality, “Every Hail Mary counts,” came into my heart. All the Hail Mary’s he prayed made sure that Mary was with him on his final journey.
And indeed I have met so many people, particularly this week, who have lost loved ones, suddenly, tragically, in difficult circumstances. And I can assure you, and more importantly, Mary assures us that she prays for us especially at the hour of our death. And when we go from this world to the next, she prays for us. And she prays for us now. We don’t know what tomorrow holds. We leave the past to God’s mercy. She prays for us now.
Every Hail Mary counts. So I ask you to repeat with me: Every Hail Mary counts. And when you are in difficult circumstances and you can’t pray, remember all the prayers you have prayed to Mary, and remember, “Every Hail Mary counts.” And when you worry about people who have died, remember that we have a great intercessor in Mary, who prays for us at the hour of our death. And we trust in the great mercy of God. And… “Every Hail Mary counts.”
And this awesome reality, I pray that it will sustain us now, this day, and always. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen (English Homily in Medjugorje 7/24/17)