I actually had the opportunity to go to Mass by myself this evening (a GREAT rarity, I assure you!) While it was a bit "lonely" not having my family with me, it gave me the chance to actually LISTEN attentively and participate more fully.
I was especially moved by this particular prayer intention:
"We pray with thanksgiving for the saints that we are named for, and the ways they have interceded for us during the course of our lifetime."
For some reason, that just hit me so strongly, and I actually choked up thinking of the saint that I am actually named for praying for me DAILY. How many events in my life did I chalk up to "good luck" (I don't believe in luck, but you get the idea) that were actually the result of her intercession for me?
My friend and I were having a similar discussion just before I left for Mass. She and her family have been praying nightly for EIGHT YEARS for the health of someone they met only once. She just discovered recently that this gentleman, who had cancer, survived and is now at the ripe old age of 82! He has NO IDEA that a family in South Carolina was praying for his health daily. How powerful were my friend's prayers? Was it her faithfulness in prayer that "turned the tide" and gave him 8 more years? We'll never know this side of eternity, but it's wonderful to think of how closely knit the Body of Christ really is, and how prayers can affect the lives of others.
Catholics believe that the Body of Christ is composed of ALL of its members, both those living now and those who have "gone on." As effective as our prayers here on earth may be, how much more effective are the prayers of those who now see God face to face, and are no longer blinded by sin, wrong motives, or lack of fervency?
I was further blessed by the Litany of the Saints, which we sang for our Communion hymn. (for those who have not heard this hymn, which is sung at the Easter Vigil, it is a listing of various saints which the cantor sings, and the congregation echoes back "pray for us" after each line, with the refrain being: "All you holy men and women, pray for us.") As soon as the cantor got to "Titus and Timothy," it hit me once again that these are not just names in the Bible or on a saint list. These are our older brothers and sisters in the faith, who pray for us constantly.
So as I've quoted our former pastor before:
"Get to know the saints. Get to know the company you keep."
May you all have a blessed All Saints' Day!