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He Prayed for Me

  • June 2, 2022 (readings)
  • Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
  • Andrew Rawicki
  • John 17:20-26

    Lifting up his eyes to Heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”

    Opening Prayer: Lord, allow me right now to quiet myself, putting aside all distractions that tend to creep into my time in prayer. In this silence, let me reflect on, and give sincere thanks for, the loving petitions that you made to the Father on my behalf: that I may be one with you, that I may be brought to perfection, and that I may be with you for all eternity. 

    Encountering Christ:

    1. Prayers for Us: Jesus Christ, in praying “for those who will believe in me through their word,” was directly praying for all men in every age who encounter the living word, exhorting his loving Father to place us under his care “as one.” When are we united like this and strengthened with the grace to remain “as one”? When we partake of the Eucharist worthily (1 Corinthians 11:27), we are in communion with not only Christ but also the Father and the Holy Spirit, not to mention all of the angels and saints in Heaven! St. Therese cried during her First Communion and the onlookers thought she was missing her deceased mother. She set the record straight: “It was beyond them all that the joy of Heaven had entered one small, exiled heart, and that it was too weak to bear it without tears. As if the absence of my mother could make me unhappy on the day of my First Communion! As all of Heaven entered my soul when I received Jesus, my mother came to me as well” (from Story of a Soul, St. Therese of Lisieux).
    2. Sent First: Three times in this prayer to the Father, Jesus stressed the importance of being “sent.” First, he prayed that we “believe” that this occurred. Next, he prayed for our belief to be strengthened to certainty, changing “believe” to “know.” Lastly, reinforcing that he is God and his mere word is efficacious, he proclaimed that his followers do already “know” this truth. We don’t often consider Jesus as an apostle (one who is sent by God), but truly Christ is the apostle par excellence. In his obedience and self-donating love, we have the model of how each of us, by virtue of our Baptism, should respond to the Father’s call to be apostles. “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9).
    3. Before the Foundation of the World: John’s Gospel famously begins: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” The concept of God outside of time is hard to fathom by our human intellect alone; we have no analogs in the created order. But Jesus, the Incarnate Word, told us in his own words that his Father, who is Our Father, loved him “before the foundation of the world.” How can we begin to understand this relationship, so that we can start to realize that we are also called to be in communion with this God of love? The unmerited gift of faith is required. May we have this faith to comprehend his perfect love that has existed, and will exist, for all eternity. The similarly unmerited gift of hope allows us to cherish Christ’s invitation to be part of this love for all eternity. “We can therefore hope in the glory of Heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will” (CCC 1821).

    Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, please grant me the faith that I need today to see with your eyes, those same eyes that you lifted up to Heaven in praying to the Father for me. Thank you for your petitions to the Father on my behalf; let me never grow weary of showing you gratitude for the unmerited gifts you have provided to me in this life, and for the hope of spending eternity with you in the glory of Heaven. 

    Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pray the luminous mysteries of the rosary, reflecting on the perfect love that each one of the mysteries calls to mind.

    For Further Reflection: Read each of the short sections on the virtue of hope in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1817-1821.


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