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I Pray for Them
Memorial of St. Peter Neri, Priest
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began. I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, allow me to participate spiritually in the Last Supper as you speak these intimate words to your closest disciples.
- The Hour Has Come: The Last Supper meal had ended. Judas had left, and the eleven, still gathered around the table with Jesus, watched him “raise his eyes to heaven” and prayed, “Father, the hour has come.” The moment of his passion had arrived: the moment foreshadowed by the prophet Isaiah; anticipated by Simeon when Joseph and Mary presented Jesus in the temple; spoken of by Jesus when Mary invited him to work a miracle at Cana; perhaps imagined by Jesus every time he saw a soul in need of redemption. The penultimate moment of salvation history was at hand. Knowing every detail of the suffering he was to endure, Jesus called out, “Father…give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you…” By these first words of his priestly prayer, Jesus set an example for us. Facing our own difficult circumstances, we imitate Jesus when the first words on our lips are “Father, may I glorify you.”
- Those You Gave Me: What did Jesus name as the qualities of those who belonged to the Father? They knew and accepted Jesus’s word. They believed the Father sent Jesus. They were “in the world” but not of the world. Are we among those elect? How well do we know and accept the word of Jesus? Do we believe in the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Are we other-worldly–living with an eye on eternity–or more often bogged down by cares and concerns of day-to-day life and forgetful of God? Let’s ask for an increase in faith so that we may comprehend more deeply our “belonging” to the Father.
- I Pray for Them: In the last few moments before Jesus’s passion began, his thoughts were with us. St. John captured for us in these sacred last words of Christ a prayer of petition to the Father for you and for me. He carried each of us in his heart at that moment and through the next painful hours as he was tortured, scourged, crowned, and crucified. We honor Our Lord and love him in return when we meditate on his Passion in the Scriptures or by saying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary with reverence and gratitude.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, in the hours before your passion, your actions and words teach me volumes about what’s truly important in life. You gathered your closest friends around you. You prayed aloud without reserve. You asked your Father to glorify you in your mission. And you asked the Father’s blessing on each one of us. May I do the same.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace, I will pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary for souls on their deathbed.
For Further Reflection: Meditating on Psalm 103 will deepen our love of the Father.
Written by Maribeth Harper