If one member suffers, everyone suffers with it. 1 Corinthians 12:26
As I write this, the destruction and devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey linger on. My heart aches for my brothers and sisters who are experiencing the horrific flooding and damage of this huge tropical storm, not knowing when it will end and move on. Rain continues to be dumped on already flooded areas as this storm hovers over the Houston area.
I watch the media coverage from my vantage point of living in the desert about 750 miles away, with clear blue skies overhead and dry roads and highways all around, and it seems surreal and far away. But the photos and images strike something deep within me, and I am moved to pray and grieve for all those suffering from this storm.
When I prayed this morning, the Scripture that came sharply to mind was 1 Corinthians 12:26, where St. Paul speaks about how we all make up the body of Christ. And when one part of the body is suffering and in pain, the rest of the body is affected. As I sat and reflected on that, I was thinking of those in Harvey’s path who are living through such fear, loss and desolation. “What can I do?” I asked the Lord.
Pray from the heart
“Pray from your heart.” It says in James 5:16 that “The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.” I don’t know if I qualify as a “righteous person” but I can pray fervently. And I believe with all my heart that prayer changes things.
So I want to invite you now, to stop and pray me with me for our sisters and brothers suffering from this storm, and all the officials and rescue workers trying to help. If a fervent prayer from one person is powerful, how much moreso the prayers from many of us!
The following is a prayer that the bishops of Louisiana ask their parishes to pray during hurricane season each year. Let us join them in praying it, too:
Prayer for Safety In Hurricane Season
O God, Master of this passing world,
hear the humble voices of your children.
The Sea of Galilee obeyed Your order
and returned to its former quietude.
You are still the Master of land and sea.
We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control:
the Gulf, like a provoked and angry giant,
can awake from its seeming lethargy,
overstep its conventional boundaries,
invade our land, and spread chaos and disaster.
During this hurricane season we turn to You, O loving Father.
Spare us from past tragedies whose memories are still so vivid
and whose wounds seem to refuse to heal with passing of time.
O Virgin, Star of the Sea, Our beloved Mother, we ask you
to plead with your Son on our behalf,
so that spared from the calamities common to this area
and animated with a true spirit of gratitude,
we will walk in the footsteps of your Divine Son
to reach the heavenly Jerusalem,
where a storm-less eternity awaits us. Amen.