“If you sit on the doorstep long enough, I daresay you will think of something”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
The unrest going on around the world does not surprise you; it’s the human condition that you came to atone for and to transform. History proves your faithfulness in every age. My time in history seems the most important to me and right now my heavy heart joins others across the ages. I’m choosing the same remedy the Saints and Martyrs of The Church chose in the midst of their time; fervent intercession. I heard it said that evil is both global and local, I believe it! I’ve also heard it said that as the home goes, so goes the nation.
What’s challenging for me to consider is the gravity of the global dis-ease without becoming overwhelmed by the suffering and injustice, or the fear of how it may affect my family. I choose hope, therefore, I desire to pray in confidence, not despair. The enemy’s tactic is to always distracts me with bad news, but I choose good news! The Gospel truth that I am a Messianic Christian praying in hope of the LORD’s redemption here and now! So many people, good Christian people, pray out of an apocalyptic fear. I’ve observed that they are people who struggle to maintain hope and peace in their lives. I won’t give up on your Messianic redemption–your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven! It takes courage and fortitude to swim upstream in this downstream world, but it is the only way to maintain levelheadedness when the world around me seems to be coming apart at the seams.
What comes to my mind as I pray these days is the old Irish tradition of praying at the doorstep. The folksy tradition each New Year’s day of going about and pounding on the doors and windows of a villager’s home with bread was practiced in order to chase out evil spirits and ensure bread for the coming year–a curious display of wishing luck to their neighbors. That once a year tradition eventually evolved into a turn of phrase Christians would use in their intercession for others. The notion of “praying against the doorstep” became a logical way for prayer warriors to intercede against any evil that might be threatening a home. Their presence at the doorstep as they prayed was a visible demonstration of their faith and of Whom they put their faith in as they prayed, The Bread of Life.
“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.'” St. John 6:35
I pray in your name and the truth that you alone can satisfy the deepest needs in our lives. It is easy for me to visualize you, The Bread of Life, in my praying hands as I pray against the doorstep of the world’s needs. The longer I sit there, the more I receive insight on how to pray. Yet, even with the truth of that you alone can make satisfaction for sin and evil, I find myself wondering if it’s possible. But, what recourse do I have other than faith and hope in your unfailing love for your creation? Thomas Merton’s teaching on prayer encourages me:
“Prayer does not blind us to the world, but it transform our vision of the world, and makes us see it, all men, and all the history of mankind in the light of God. To pray ‘in spirit and in truth’ enables us to enter into contact with that infinite love, that inscrutable freedom which is at work behind the complexities and the intricacies of human existence.”
Bread of Life, I pray against the complexities of conflict in our nation. Please exorcise the evil that threatens to dominate our culture.
Bread of Life, I pray against the intricacies that are deeply ingrained in the culture of death that takes the lives of innocent babies and the elderly. Please render the instigators powerless.
Bread of Life, I pray against the perverse hatred between religions, tribes, and ethnicities. Please speak peace into the hatred.
Bread of Life, I pray against the despair and anger that has hijacked the minds of our world during this pandemic and the effects it is causing to our collective emotions. Please restore common sense to us–the decision-makes for our society, as well as ourselves. Hold us back from fetching fears.
“The main source of a good and happy life – for the human
race, for each nation and community, and for each family –
is the personal virtue of each individual. No system or set
of laws, however perfect, can work for good without
There is another doorstep you desire of me to remember as I pray for the global needs and it’s not far away, it is my own home and my relationships with those around me. It is true that as the home goes, so does the nation. I have a hunch that prayer for my own doorstep will influence the doorstep of the nation. The door to world peace pivots on “prudence [ wisdom], justice [fairness], fortitude [courage], and temperance [self-control]” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1805) That’s no conjured system by mankind, it’s a manner of living your divine life here and now. When I open my eyes to the daily violence that can happen in relationships, I see with new eyes what a careless word can do to those I love. You promise to replace strife with peace as I pursue your Holy Spirit’s virtues. When I choose to live with my door wide open to you, I receive you as the Bread of Life. Bread that nourishes, satisfies, and fills me. Can prayer against my own doorstep bring about world peace? Yes, yes, yes! As I allow you to remove the clutter of evil that come when I chose vice over virtue, you feed me and protect me, and you nurture in me your divine image.
“Personal virtue is the key to improving the world, finding
happiness, and helping other people to be good and happy too; yet
the ultimate end of virtue is even greater than these great goals:
‘the goal of a virtuous life is to become like God’”
–Peter Kreeft, Catechism of the Catholic Church #1803
Bread of Life, when I am gluttonous for my own desires, feed me temperance to develop a balanced mind in the midst of chaos around me.
Bread of Life, when I allow anger to rule over my thoughts and deeds, strengthen me with patience that chooses mercy over wrath with another.
Bread of Life, when I become envious of another, teach me kindness and fill me with compassion for the other.
Bread of Life, when pride tries to carry me away into self-preoccupation, humble me with reverence for the other.
Bread of Life, when I become slothful in practicing the divine life, feed me diligence to do your will; to persevere when I’d rather ignore a problem with another.
Bread of Life, when lust of the flesh and the boastful pride of life crowd out purity in my thoughts and deeds, consume me with chastity that values purity of heart above all things.
Bread of Life, when greed motivates my attitudes toward others, increase charity in me that leads to sacrificial generosity and benevolence with others.