Mass Readings: Wisdom 12:13,16-19/ Romans 8:26-27/ Matthew 13:24-43 or 13:24-30

Prayer Stroke

Five years ago, I visited Gitmo, the military prison at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. I often recall the images and experiences. Today’s reading from Romans evokes a piercing memory. Once, while at Gitmo, I found myself alone looking down a row of cells. I couldn’t see the detainees but only two guards making their rounds. I decided to pray.

As I started to pray silently, I discovered no words came to mind. I switched to a silent Hail Mary. But again, it was as if the words would not form. Finally, I thought, “Well I can surely manage the sign of the cross.” Yet as I raised my hand to begin, something stopped me. I was clearly being told. “Do not even make the sign of the cross. Just stand here.” So I did. I stood in silence as I’d been told.

Prayer: Omnipresent Lord, thank You for Your Presence.