This week's reflection is written by
V. Rev. Lewis S. Fiorelli, OSFS, Provincial.
Each Monday morning, the provincial sends a newsletter to the Oblates throughout the province entitled, “Prayer Matters.” New to the role of provincial, I have just begun sending this to my fellow Oblates. When I think about the title of this communication, many interpretations come to mind.
“Prayer matters”, that is, prayer makes a difference; it matters. I certainly agree with that interpretation.
One of the best descriptions of prayer comes from one the Church’s master prayers, St. Francis de Sales. For him, prayer is simply a heart to heart conversation with God. God speaks and we listen; we speak and God listens. Both speak from the heart. For Francis, the content is not so important. The connection, the communication, the relationship is everything. In that sense, prayer is really a bond of love that is experienced between the one who prays and God. That experience is transformative for the one who prays. That person is remade from within simply through the experience of praying, for whenever one draws close to the holy, wonderful things happens. So, yes, prayer does indeed matter; it does indeed make a difference!
Another meaning of “prayer matters” centers on the content of the word, “matters,” that is, on the content of one’s prayer. Every week, in the prayer matters email blast, there is a prayer list by name, often with a brief description of what we are being asked to pray for on their behalf. Prayers can be requested for a person's recovery from an illness or for the success of an approaching surgery or for the speedy and complete recovery after some accident or set back. Collectively, they constitute the “matters” for which we are being asked to pray: the “matters” in Prayer Matters.
I write this brief reflection from Annecy, France. In the Basilica of the Visitation in this lovely city lie the remains of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal who were spiritual friends during life, collaborators in the visionary foundation of the Visitation of Holy Mary and the saintly man and woman whose spirituality is known today as Salesian Spirituality.
I spent some time before these holy saints praying for all the intentions listed in Prayer Matters, for all those who are our Oblate Partners in Ministry and for all of you who read Prayer Matter and De Sales Weekly. I took the intentions of each one of you in prayer to these saints who will, I know, take them to God. We Catholics believe in the intercession of the saints and we Oblates believe firmly in the efficacy of the prayerful intercession of Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal.