“I doubt that we will ever understand the power of prayer or how the promise of prayer itself touches the lives of others. It is another way that God uses us as agents of God’s mercy.”
-Fr. Jack Kurps, SCJ
Fr. Jack Kurps, SCJ, executive director of Sacred Heart Southern Missions, reflects on how we are called to be agents of God’s mercy. His text appears in the March 4, 2016 “Dehonian Spirituality,” a weekly e-publication of with reflections and prayers based in the charism of Fr. Leo John Dehon, our founder. Click here to subscribe.
Sacred Heart Southern Missions does some great work in northern Mississippi. The staff of our schools, social service offices, and housing has the advantage of working closely with those who come seeking assistance. They meet the people, they hear the stories, they see the tears, they witness the anguish and frustration. Whether it is providing food, clothing and shelter for the poor, visiting the sick and homebound, constructing ramps for the handicapped, or educating both children and adults, these staff members have first-hand knowledge of how our help touches the lives of others and makes a profound difference.
I don’t do any of that.
Like the rest of us who work in the office in Walls, my role is to help provide the resources [staff, finances, and support services] that are needed so that others can be involved in what the Church calls the Corporal Works of Mercy. My work is more directly involved with our benefactors across the country than with families here in Mississippi who seek assistance.
And what do our donors ask for in return for their financial help? Prayer.
Sometimes they ask for advice, but I think they already know that there are no easy solutions for how to convince an adult son to return to church, a spouse to quit drinking, or an adult daughter to find a job. Some are lonely, “My husband of 59 years passed away…I just really miss him.” Others are frightened, “My husband, kids, and grandkids think I’ve got Alzheimer’s.” Still others share stories of family stress caused by finances or decade-old disagreements that no one really remembers. Fears of loved ones losing their employment, grandchildren having difficulty in school, a neighbor’s daughter’s difficult pregnancy—the list goes on.
But whether by phone, by letter, or by email, the story always ends the same. Please pray for us. When there are no easy solutions or words of advice, the promise of prayer brings comfort.
“I just learned,” a woman wrote in her Christmas card to me, “that my daughter and her husband have been in rehab and go to AA. He has been sober for 1 year. Your prayers have helped. Thank you.”
I doubt that we will ever understand the power of prayer or how the promise of prayer itself touches the lives of others. It is another way that God uses us as agents of God’s mercy.
Fr. Jack Kurps, SCJ