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A Perfect Prayer of Petition

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Back in March, I visited a childhood friend I had not seen in many years. Before we parted, she told me a wonderful story which contained a great gift.

Several years ago, when her husband was stationed in Germany, Linda joined a pilgrimage to Lourdes organized by the US Army. A convert to the Catholic faith, she’d never visited the shrine and found it very moving. At one point, a nun asked if she’d like to kiss the feet of Mary. Feeling a bit self-conscious, she hesitated a moment, then accepted. She knelt before the statue and, kissing the marble, heard a request:

“Lord, make me an empty vessel and fill me with Thy purpose.”

The voice was hers, but the words were not; they were a complete surprise. Still kneeling, tears came to her eyes. And as she related the experience to me, the tears returned. On her next visit home, she told one of her priests about it. He smiled.

“That’s Mary’s prayer.”

Linda adopted it as her own; upon hearing this sweet story, so did I. After all, it is a perfect prayer. It could not be otherwise: it is essentially Marian. Beautifully prefigured in every book of the Old Testament, Mary—the literal and true Ark of the Covenant—is the perfectly empty vessel who, filled with His purpose as Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix, dispenses her Son’s graces. This is not an easy prayer; indeed, it is exceedingly difficult, for it asks to be made perfect—perfectly selfless, perfectly open to the Truth. Just like Mary.

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Posted by John Francis Borra on 06/12 at 04:52 PM
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