Prayers for Our Human Family

Blog Published: November 11, 2013
By Sister Julie

Today is a tough day as we remember not only all who serve today and served in the past in various conflicts but we also mourn the tragic loss of life and devastation in the Philippines from the typhoon. It is really hard to absorb so much pain, suffering, and grief. But we must tangle with these things because in so much as suffering touches the life of another person, it touches us. The monk and spiritual writer Thomas Merton wrote of his realization of just this insight:

Pray for the People of the Philippines, Mickey McGrath“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness…

"This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud… I have the immense joy of being man [sic], a member of a race in which God Himself [sic] became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.” (Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander)

Our connectedness compels us to care ... and to respond. It may be a simple gesture like posting on Facebook your gratitude to the veterans in your life or bringing to prayer the people of the Philippines. Or it may be donating to organizations that are helping with vets dealing with post traumatic stress disorder or immediate relief to agencies like Catholic Relief Services that are with the people of the Philippines.

In whatever way you respond, meet suffering with love.

Art by Brother Mickey McGrath, OSFS, at Bee Still Studio

Recent Comments

Submitted by marla h. thurman on Wed, 11/13/2013 - 16:11


beautiful sentiment.

i remember, julie, about 15, maybe 20 years ago, having this epiphany in my life. it really had zero to do with veterans. i'm so anti-military it couldn't be, but today, for years, i've "known" this truth about veterans, too. yes, even vets. even active duty soldiers. THAT'S a big deal.

people get angry when i tell this story, but i'm telling it anyway. anger never stopped me before. jeffrey dahmer, notorious cannibal and serial killer, had been murdered in his prison the night before. i was at church, after mass. most parishioners were having coffee and cookies and i was heading out to join them--our regular sunday "after-meetin'" procedure, but i had stopped to grab something from the classroom where i taught high school religion. on my way out, four men i respected and admired were talking and i caught dahmer's name, and then, to my tremendous surprise and consternation, the comment, "thank god somebody killed that s.o.b."
that comment was greeted with several "me toos" and "you said it."

i turned to these 4 men i admired and respected, not admiring or respecting any of them at that moment, and said, "do you even remember where you are?? not that being inside god's house or outside god's house makes rejoicing in a murder okay...."

one of the guys started, "but he *was* a murderer..."

"i never read one work of scripture that said 'be glad someone is dead,'" i said. i griped and complained for ten minutes about how we are a pro-life church, a church that celebrates life and blah-blah-blah.

it was then, not because of vets of war of tsunamis or earthquakes, that i truly GOT that we are all one; we are the same, and god doesn't love any one of us more that the others.

i recall all of this today because of you, jules. thanks.

Submitted by Sister Julie on Mon, 11/18/2013 - 08:01

In reply to by marla h. thurman


Powerful story, Marla. Pro-life is indeed an all-encompassing commitment to life. Sister Helen Prejean I think has done a great job at advancing this in regard to how we treat people who have done violence to others, including the most hideous of crimes.

Submitted by eidieh on Thu, 11/14/2013 - 16:49


Thank you so much for the prayers for my fellow countrymen. It is really devastating here in our country right now. No words can express how much I feel for all who suffered from that previous typhoon. We also want to thank those countries who are supporting and extending their helps too. God really works in mysterious ways. God rewards everyone who helped and still helping.

Please pray also for a friend of mine, a Benedictine sister that is still missing....I hope she's just somewhere that I can locate.


We continue to keep your people in our prayers and for your friend, eidieh.