|Christ the Intercessor. Giovanni di Paolo: Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane|
I thought I'd start the day with some crazy talk.
I do believe that I have experienced some prophetic calls to intercession. One reason this sounds crazy is that we think of prophecy as a psychic's prediction of the future. But really prophecy is a message from God given to someone to deliver to others or to direct their actions in a particular way. This is very different from having psychic powers that can be evoked at will. And God gives information on a need-to-know basis. If someone delivers me a prophetic message, I don't need to worry that they also know what type of underwear I'm wearing. (For the record, I wear Hanes because I can buy them at the drugstore. They also sell food! I like to kill as many birds as I can with one stone.)
I know people can relate to the sudden feeling of doom that sometimes comes upon us, leaving us feeling like something terrible has just happened or might happen soon. On several occasions this feeling has driven me to prayer for whomever happens to be in danger. Sometimes I have a sense of whom that might be and other times I don't. After praying for a while, a sense of peace comes over me.
One evening several weeks ago, while praying a Holy Hour in the chapel, an overwhelming sense of betrayal and abandonment came upon me for no apparent reason and, so suddenly, that I briefly wondered if I was going crazy. I felt a sort of spiritual deadness and a desire to leave the chapel immediately, but I made a conscious choice to remain for the rest of the hour. After choosing to stay I felt slightly less agitated, but the underlying emotional distress remained.
I felt like I was of two minds, with one mind steeped in desolation and the other calmly reflecting on the situation. Back at home, I remembered my previous experiences with the feeling of impending doom. I wondered if these new feelings could be a call to prayer for someone experiencing emotional distress. A quick Google search led me to this Pentecostal article on Prophetic Intercession. After a period of intercessory prayer, I was back to my usual self again.
The next day I was at prison ministry meeting with the Ratchet guy from my previous post. As usual, I asked him how things had been going since I last saw him. He said, "Last night was the worst night I've had since I've been here." He had been extremely depressed thinking about how all of his friends betrayed him and abandoned him and he felt so alone and like his life had no meaning and he couldn't stop crying. He hadn't cried at all since being 'locked up' but last night he couldn't stop. He'd just wanted to give up. He said it was horrible but today he was feeling better. I told him about my experience and that I think God may have called me to pray for him in a special way last night.
So maybe I was praying for Ratchet or maybe I was praying for someone else or maybe I just happened to be hyper emotional that day. But it's a good reminder that whenever something weird like this happens we can never go wrong by turning to prayer. In fact, if we allow every experience, even our failures, to become an occasion for prayer or sacrificial offering then evil will never win. And that is the Mystery of the Cross. So let's be transformed by the renewal of our minds.
St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us!