A Prayer for Hope
By Cliff Garvey
Think for a moment about your prayer life. When do you pray? Where do you pray? How do you pray? How often do you pray? For what and for whom do you pray? Father Benedict Groeschel once said: “The best gift that anyone can give to a friend is to pray for them.” And Pope Francis says: “One of the most effective ways to help others is prayer. Prayer unites us. It makes us brothers and sisters; and it reminds us of a beautiful truth that we sometimes forget. When we pray, we all say ‘Father’ and ‘Dad.'” The Holy Rosary unites us in a similar way. When we ask Mary to pray for us, we all say ‘Mother.’ She is the Mother of God and our Blessed Mother. No matter who we are; no matter where we are from; and matter where we stand on the issues of the day, we all say: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!”
These days, I turn to the Rosary more and more out of necessity; perhaps not as often as I should, but certainly more than I ever thought possible. Work can be difficult. Anyone who has ever worked hard to make ends meet already knows that prayer can help us cope with the burden, get through the day, and make it through the week. For me, the work of ministry can be challenging. It is not just the work of bringing people together in prayer, fellowship, and service. It’s more about needs: the sometimes urgent and heartbreaking needs of the people who come to us every day asking for help.
Every week, someone asks me to pray for a particular intention. An ailing spouse. An autistic child. An addicted grandchild. A faltering marriage. A lost job. Every week, the list grows longer and longer. Early on, some of these prayer requests got lost in the shuffle of a busy life. But I realized that a big part of my ministry is to pray for the people that I am called to serve. I take seriously the part of my vocation that calls me to pray for people in need. This call to prayer, this need for prayer, led me to the Rosary and to a small miracle.
Because the people in our community are so close, I will not share this parishioner’s real name. Let’s call her ‘Hope.’ For months, I had been welcoming Hope to church before Mass. Some weeks, she might say hello. Some weeks, she might smile. Some weeks, she might not respond at all. Then one day, she pulled me aside, leaned close, and with tears in her eyes, asked me to pray for her. She said: “I’m always angry or unhappy. I’m rude. I snap at my family. I swear too much, especially in the car. What should I do? Pray for me!”
I offered the usual advice: Pray for patience. Pray for guidance. Ask Jesus to help you. Ask the Blessed Mother to help you. I assured Hope that I would pray for her and that I would ask others to pray for her, too. Now, I hear this kind of request very often. And I pray for our fellow parishioners and their intentions every single day. But somehow, Hope seemed different. She seemed desperate. She didn’t seem suicidal, but there was a look in her eyes that said she didn’t like the person she had become. She seemed almost afraid of the person she had become.
That Sunday, I prayed for Hope at Mass. The next day, I asked members of the Assisi Project to pray for her. The day after that, I asked the Sisters of Saint Bridget of Sweden in Assisi to pray for her. One week later, I was still thinking about her when I began a long four-hour drive to Maine. I turned on a recording of the Holy Rosary. I prayed for Hope and for everyone who had asked me to pray for them; and I continued to pray for her during the coming days and weeks. After all, Sister Lucia of Fatima said: “There is no problem, no matter how difficult, that we cannot solve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.”
Some weeks passed; maybe a month. I did not see Hope; and I did not think much about her except to pray for her and for many others during my long drives to and from my little house in Maine. Then one day, Hope approached me before Mass and said with real sincerity and joy: “I am better. I feel better. I’m not swearing anymore.” We laughed. Some more weeks passed. Hope approached me again and said with even greater sincerity and joy: “Are you still praying for me? Because if you are, it’s like a miracle! For the first time in years, I feel peaceful and content. I’m not snapping at people. I’m not swearing in the car. Hell, I’m not swearing at all!” At that point, we both laughed a lot. When I see Hope these days, I ask her: “How are you?” She says: “Fine. Much better. Please keep praying.”
Miracles happen. Miracles happen every day. More and more, I am convinced that miracles happen when we ask Jesus to make them happen. I am convinced that miracles happen more often when we ask the Blessed Mother to ask Jesus to make them happen. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!
Each time we pray for Our Lady’s intercession, we pray for miracles. We pray that she will pray for us, you and me, no matter who we are, no matter where we are, no matter what we have done, no matter what we might do, now and always, beyond our last breath. Holy Mother, Mother of God, pray for us!
Each time we pray for Our Lady’s intercession, we pray for miracles. We pray for the nerve to change; for the courage to carry on in the face of addiction, divorce, illness, infidelity, pandemic, and unemployment. We pray for the grace to love our neighbor even when we don’t like our neighbor. We pray for the strength to persevere in our family situations, in our jobs, and in our vocations; for the grit to face every challenge head-on, with love, in our homes, parishes, and workplaces. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!
Each time we pray for Our Lady’s intercession, we pray for miracles. We pray for the joy of knowing that we are not alone, that we are never alone, that the Blessed Mother is as close as the Rosary that we keep in our pocket or purse. We pray for the joy of knowing that we are loved beyond measure; for the joy of knowing that our prayers, and especially her prayers, can change a life. We pray for the joy of knowing that our prayers and her prayers can change many lives; that our prayers and her prayers can change the world. Miracles happen. Miracles happen every day.
For eight centuries, believers like us have been praying the Holy Rosary in one way or another. We pray with beads; or we pray with our fingers. We pray in silence; or we pray out loud. We pray alone; or we pray together. Whenever we pray the Rosary, a spiritual communion is born. It is a communion of believers, past and present, from all around the world. Together with the angels and all of the saints, we look to the Blessed Mother and we beg her to pray for our suffering world. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!
When we pray the Rosary, a chorus of prayer is lifted to the heavens, to God, through the intercession of Mary, through our meditations on the joyful, sorrowful, glorious, and luminous mysteries in the Life of Christ. Reflecting on prayer in this way, Pope Francis says: “One of the most effective ways to help others is prayer. Prayer unites us…We learn to see one another as brothers and sisters. In prayer, there are no rich people and poor people, there are sons and daughters, sisters and brothers. In prayer, there is not first or second class. There is only friendship. It is in prayer that our hearts find the strength not to be cold and insensitive in the face of injustice. In prayer, God keeps calling us, opening our hearts to love.” Amen, Holy Father. Amen.
Think again about your prayer life. When do you pray? Where do you pray? How do you pray? How often do you pray? For what and for whom do you pray? Do you pray for others? Give praise. Give thanks. Ask the Blessed Mother to pray for you. Ask her to pray with you. Ask her to pray for our poor, poor world.
full of grace,
the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen. Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us! Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! Our Lady of Angels, pray for us! Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us! Our Lady of Hope, pray for us!
About the Author & Presenter
Cliff Garvey is co-founder of the Assisi Project. He is a graduate of the University of Souther Maine, Saint John Seminary College, and the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. Cliff is an experienced spiritual director, retreat leader, writer, and university lecturer. He also serves as Associate Minister of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport in Massachusetts where his ministry focuses on adult faith formation.
Thank you for listening to the Living Rosary, Day 3: A Prayer for Hope. This audio recording is produced by the Assisi Project, Inc. For more information about the Assisi Project and our programs and ministries for adults of all ages and backgrounds, please contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright 2020. All rights reserved. May the Lord give you peace!
The Living Rosary Virtual Retreat
- The Living Rosary: Introduction
- The Living Rosary – Day 1: A Journey Begins
- The Living Rosary – Day 2: A Journey Continues
- The Living Rosary – Day 3: A Prayer for Hope
- The Living Rosary – Day 4: A Prayer for Tomorrow
- The Living Rosary – Day 5: A Prayer for Joy
Video Rosary with Father Jim
- Watch & Pray: The Joyful Mysteries
- Watch & Pray: The Sorrowful Mysteries
- Watch & Pray: The Glorious Mysteries
- Watch & Pray: The Luminous Mysteries
- How to Pray the Rosary
Marian Podcast Series
- Assisi Project Podcast: The School of Mary
- Assisi Project Podcast: Mary, Mother of All Peoples (Part 1)
- Assisi Project Podcast: Mary, Mother of All Peoples (Part 2)
- Assisi Project Podcast: Our Daily Prayers
Founded in 2007, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with friends and followers throughout the world. We are dedicated to helping Christian believers of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. The Assisi Project is a non-profit, tax exempt charitable organization. All are welcome to support our ministry via PayPal or AmazonSmile (links below); or by sending a tax-deductible donation to the Assisi Project, Post Office Box 3158, Gloucester, Massachusetts 01931-3158. For more information about the Assisi Project and our upcoming opportunities for formation, prayer, and pilgrimage, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. May the Lord give you peace!