We walked to the gardens but, because of the rain, we had to duck inside the museum. Damp, cold and feeling disappointed at not being able to stroll amongst the emerging buds, I blazed past thousands of years of artistry dedicated to kings and gods long since forgotten. Downcast, I turned a corner and came to an abrupt halt. There she was. I was stopped in my tracks as she was exactly my size. I was face to face with “Hagiosoritissa,” the Blessed Virgin with hands outstretched towards Christ in intercessory prayer, eternally praying for me and for you and for the salvation of all humankind.
To Christ, through Mary. The representation so beautifully depicts this. She is simply passing along all that comes to her, passing it on to Christ.
Are you like Mary? Do you pass all that comes to you along to Christ-- the good, in prayers of praise and thanksgiving and the not so good, the deepest needs of your heart, and even the longings of others? That is what we call being an intercessor.
What exactly is intercessory prayer? It is praying, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” It is taking hold of God's will in the heavenlies and refusing to let go until His will comes to pass on this earth. It is being a divine link of all that God would have done on this earth and using our prayers to make it happen.
Now you may ask, “Couldn’t God just do whatever God would do without my prayers?” The answer is, “Yes.” But the crazy thing is, God being the loving and amazing God that He is, always leaves room for us in His plans. Somehow He likes for us to be a part of His work. And when we ask, it delights Him, and in turn, fans our faith into flame.
I recently met with Fr. Dan Leary who is a humble and dedicated intercessor. He shared with me the story of how he became aware of the gift of praying for the healing for others from the Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe. He spoke of the way hands are used by God to be windows to heaven and how he strongly believes every priest should allow God to use his hands to pray in this way. How beautiful. We should all think of our prayers like that. When we pray for others or even ourselves, we are simply opening a window to heaven to let God’s powerful, efficacious light and life shine down into the situation.
Do all of our prayers get answered? Yes. But they may not always be the answers we are hoping for. Sometimes God answers, “Yes.” Sometimes God answers, “No.” And sometimes He says “Wait.” But what we must be mindful to say is this, “not my will but yours be done.” Luke 22:42.
And when we have prayed, and prayed and prayed, and not given up until we have exhausted ourselves storming the gates of heaven in persistent and faith-filled prayers, we can, like beautiful Hagiosoritissa, have a peaceful resignation that our requests are in God’s loving and capable care. And now those same hands that passed the burdens and requests on to Christ are already lifted in praise, thanking Him for His answer, whatever that may be. As Job so faithfully and beautifully taught us to say, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!”Job 1:21 May He be praised now and forever more.
“First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone…” 1 Timothy 2:1
Thank You for the Blessed Mother’s loving example of prayer. Thank You that she passes all on to You with uplifted hands and, therefore, is not burdened by our prayer concerns, keeping them only to herself, but is actually glad to intercede, as she is in an attitude of eternal praise to You. May I be like this. May I be lifted up, even as I am passing along my requests, no matter how heavy they may be. Lord, give me the heart of an intercessor. Give me confidence to know that I am a child of Yours and, therefore, I can come to You anytime about anything. I praise You Lord because You are worthy of all of my praise. May I be a window of Your love and light to others. Shine through me.
I ask this in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Mother of God as Intercessor-“Hagiosoritissa,” Middle Byzantine, mid 11th century, marble relief is at Dumbarton Oaks Museum in Washington DC.