My greatest spiritual battles seem to be fought in the middle of the night. I do not know if it is the darkness or simply exhaustion, but real and terrifying anxieties seem to spring at me from the blackness, and I fear, not only for myself and my family, but for our world as well. It seems as if the filters which separate me from the horrifying reality of the men and women accosted by the horrors of terrorists and other forces of evil completely disappear, and I can feel their horror, their lonesomeness, their sense of complete abandonment and despair. In those awful moments, I cling to the only thing which can possibly hold me up – prayer. I pray to God the Father, the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. I pray to Mary most Holy and to every saint I can think of. I pray to Michael the Archangel and to the Guardian Angels of all my children and to the angels of those presently suffering in the world. Intercessory prayer is powerful stuff. It never lets me down.
I sometimes wonder why I have these episodes at night when I am least able to meet them on my own. But then, I realize, that is probably exactly why. Because I am never really able to meet evil on my own. It is at night, when I am most likely to admit my vulnerability, that I am most likely to resort to fervent prayer – not some other well-intended action which may not do any real good at all. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “The entire revelation of God’s goodness in Christ is a response to the existence of evil.” (p.878) And further: “The prayer of intercession leads us to pray as Christ, our unique Intercessor, prayed.” (p.884) So, when I wake in terror, admit the existence of evil in its fullness and realize my inability to meet it, yet still dare to care, I turn to God and I pray for my brothers and sisters who most need help; it is then that I become most Christ-like.
When I leap into Christ’s arms in prayer, take firm hold of the communion of saints and pray sincerely, I find I have not only deepened my relationship with the spiritual mega-heroes of my faith, but I might have really helped the world grow in holiness…just a bit. A nudge toward an eternal good is well worth a night’s sleep.