So I went to Mass this morning, and right before Mass started, a woman who I have seen there once or twice walked in and sat down in the pew in front of me, on the other end of the pew. I took little notice and the Mass began.
I soon began to her her sniffle, and I began wondering if she was crying. This preoccupied my mind for quite a bit of the Mass, making me lose focus during the responsorial Psalm (I forgot the response haha) and the homily. By the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, I had decided that after Mass had ended, I would go over to her and ask her if I could pray for her.
What I find very funny/strange/creepy, though, was as I was trying to figure out how to word my question - Is there anything I can pray for on your behalf? can I pray for you? ... I'm not very good with speaking- a little thought popped into my head. I'm not sure of its origin, nor if it was of my own thinking, or of something outside of me. But something told me that perhaps she didn't speak English.
I pushed it aside and after Mass had ended and people began to leave, I walked down the pew towards this woman, still bent in prayer. I asked her my rehearsed question, "Is there anything I can pray for on your behalf?" She looked at me, and said something in broken English like, "I don't speak English..." I recognized her Spanish accent and asked her again (in flustered Spanish, so I botched the subjunctive... but anyway...). She nodded and told me hurriedly that someone she knows (I think her husband??) has a condition with his brain (I think she said cancer... not sure though). So I told her that I was so sorry, and that I would pray for her. I then touched her shoulder gently and said, "Que Dios te bendiga" - God bless you.
And I did. I kneeled with her and prayed for about fifteen minutes, until I had to leave to go to work. She was still there when I left, kneeling and crying.
This experience touched my heart because I saw how surprised and sort of relieved she was that I offered to pray for her. She was weeping and I can only imagine the distress that she is going through. Also, what touched my heart was that God put in my heart to pray for her and her intention. It felt good to pray for and with this woman, who I hardly knew, and who spoke a different language than me (granted, I can speak pretty good Spanish, and I do know prayers in Spanish, but that's beside the point)
Let's be honest. Sometimes, we are afraid to ask people if we can pray for them. And that is understandable, but we really should go out on a limb and offer our prayers to people who might need them. And it feels really good to know that you might have made someone's day by asking them, and you may have made a difference.
I challenge you right now - next time you see someone in distress - I don't care who it is; your best friend, a stranger, an elderly lady, or a child - ASK THEM if you can pray for them.
In the words of Nike:
Just Do it.
You never know. It could make a difference.
Prayer changes things!!
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Que Dios te bendiga