March 19, 2014
When a group of high school students visited us in our friary and it came time for them to leave, one hurried over to me. “Okay, so I know we don’t have a lot of time,” she said, “but I have to ask you something. Did you ever doubt? And what did you do?” There was a necessity in her eyes, an urgency in her voice that reeled me in easily, and I wanted so badly to solve everything for her in that one moment, to watch her walk away happy, smiling and without these deep concerns weighing down her soul. I had nothing to say, though. I answered her something totally inadequate, something like, “Yes, I have. You need to pray; be honest about it and pray.” It’s not an awful answer, but it certainly isn’t a life-changing response.
She left as fast as she came, slipping onto the bus—lost among the thirty faces behind the large tinted windows, and I thought, well, that could have gone better. But, you know, as I began to complain to Jesus that I had nothing profound to say, I realized that whatever I had to say wasn’t too important to him. His concern now was that I pray for her, that I intercede. It’s as if (and it’s not unlikely) that encounter happened not so that I could change her life in an instant with elegant words, pat myself on the back and be on my way, but that I may take her with me and carry her through my intercession and continued support. And I have prayed. I have tucked that little girl and her intentions inside my heart, and I always go back to her, and for her I will probably always be praying. I think that, more than the clever words, is efficacious.
+ Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
Ft. Worth, TX