I didn't sleep much on the plane, despite the exit row. (Delta's 777's are by far more comfortable than Continental's, or Northwest's A330s. The service on board was great. Three Indian flight attendant, as opposed to the normal hassled looking one on the others, very friendly.) Ended up having some good conversations with my seat companions, one of whom was a good Bombay Catholic lady who has lived in in the Dallas area for a quarter of a century.
"Are you Catholic?" she asked, after she saw me praying Lauds. "Yep ... " She shared her own family's stories of the suffering and death of loved ones. Her mother sounded like a really formidable character, who also believed implicitly in the power of prayer. "Whenever my daughter had issues at work, mom would light a candle, and it would be ok!" She then gave me a medal of the Infant Jesus of Prague. "It's been blessed at the Shrine." I took it most gratefully, and I think it will remain on my person throughout this period.
I got to thinking about her mom, her faith in the power of prayer. I am supposed to be a man of prayer. I pray. I intercede and ask the saints for intercession for my friends and family, for a long list of people and intentions that inhabit the inside cover of my breviary, a crumpled piece of paper with hopes and pain and suffering and joy scrawled in the ink of faith.
But do I really believe it? How much faith do I really have? I know I need to accept the reality ahead ... but do I really believe in miracles? For myself, my family? Am I too prideful to dare to approach the Throne for my own needs, boldly? Or am I, despite it all, deep down, really a skeptic?
For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. (Mt. 17:20, RSV)Lord, I need your help!