Praying to God for the living and the dead – Seventh Spiritual Work of Mercy
The Works of Mercy through the eyes of a biblical scholar
We are almost at the end of the first week of in-depth meetings on the Works of Mercy. The days, organised and promoted by Spazio Spadoni, were attended by many friends, consecrated and lay, from Italy, Albania, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Benin and Kenya. We analyse the latest spiritual work, with the help of biblical scholar Carlo Miglietta.
The seventh Work of Spiritual Mercy is “praying to God for the living and the dead”
The biblical scholar points out to us that he who performs this work is similar to:
- Jesus, who went “up the mountain, alone, to pray” (Mt 14:23; cf. 26:36; Lk 22:32; Jn 14:16; 17:9.20; Lk 23:34), and often exhorts to prayer (Mt 9:38; Lk 22:40)… “Jesus Christ…stands at the right hand of God and intercedes for us” (Rom 8:34), “great high priest” (Heb 4:14-15).
- The Holy Spirit, who “intercedes persistently for us…according to God’s plan” (Rom 8:26-27).
- Abraham (Gen 18:23-32; 20:7); Moses (Ex 32:11-14; 34:8-9); the Prophets (Am 7:1-6; 2 Kings 19:4; Jer 42:2-4); Nehemiah (Ne 1:6).
- “The noble Judah …, having made a collection … had the atoning sacrifice offered for the dead, that they might be absolved from sin” (2 Mac 12:42-45).
- The centurion (Lk 7:3), Jairus, the leader of the synagogue (Lk 8:41-42), the father of the epileptic (Lk 9:38); the ten lepers (Lk 17:13), the blind man of Jericho (Lk 18:28), the Syro-Phoenician woman (Mk 7:26; cf 1:30; 7:32; 8:22), one of the two thieves on the cross (Lk 23:42).
- Paul: “I always pray joyfully for you in all my prayers” (Phil 1:3-4; cf. Col 1:3; 2 Thess 1:11).
The biblical scholar also reminds us that those who pray hear the Word of God
Below some excerpts:
- “Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors” (Mt 5:44; cf. Lk 6:28).
- “Let questions, supplications, prayers be made…for all men, for kings and for those in power” (1 Tim 2:1-2).
- “Peter was in prison: a prayer went up unceasingly to God from the Church for him” (Acts 12:5):
- “Pray unceasingly with all manner of prayers…, praying for all the saints” (Eph 6:18).
- “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin…, let him pay, and God will give him life” (1 John 5:16).
- “Pray also for us, that…we may proclaim the mystery of Christ” (Col 4:3; cf. Acts 8:24).
- “By praying for you they will manifest their affection” (2 Cor 9:14).
- “Physicians…also pray to the Lord that he may guide them happily to relieve the disease and to heal it, so that the sick person may return to life” (Sir 38:14).
- “Pray for one another to be healed. Much is the prayer of the righteous made with insistence. He who is sick, let him call to himself the presbyters of the Church and let them pray over him, having anointed him with oil…And prayer made in faith will save the sick person” (Jas 5:13-16).
The biblical scholar leaves us at the conclusion of this work with a provocation, a question: do we know how to be “fishers of men” (Mk 1:7), identifying those who pray for the living and the dead and proclaiming the beatitude of mercy that reads “Blessed are the merciful” (Mt 5:7)?
Praying the Works of Mercy
Spazio Spadoni, through what he called ri-Evolution, emphasises the importance of praying unceasingly to train the body and spirit to direct one’s steps on the path of the Works of Mercy. A path towards reciprocity to be sought not only in acting reciprocally, but by uniting to the Works of doing, the spiritual sense that comes from advising, teaching, admonishing, consoling, forgiving, enduring and praying.