At some point in our lives, we all will experience a "Queen Esther moment." When we face what feels like overwhelming circumstances— the question is—how will we respond? Queen Esther responded by pleading with God in prayer.
When I arrived here at the Father Peyton Center, Fr. John Phalen brought me to a cubicle and showed me a pile of mail that he asked if I could open and sort through. At the time, I had no idea how reading that mail would impact my faith and priesthood.
In each envelope was a person's heartfelt prayer request; a mother or father asking for a son or daughter to return to the faith, be healed of cancer or drug addiction, find a good spouse, and so many more. Grandparents were praying for their adult children and grandchildren. And young adults praying for their spouses, themselves, or their aging parents. These requests came to us not only from the U.S. but from around the world! I even had one guy praying that the Seattle Supersonics (basketball team) would get a new owner; I think his prayers were answered!
When I reflected on Queen Esther's plight and response, I thought about the thousands and thousands of people who have asked for Father Peyton's intercession and for us to unite our prayers with theirs. I thought about the level of faith and love to not only make a prayer to God but then to take the time to write and send it along by regular mail or email, trusting that we would take the time to read and pray for each intention.
Among the many people, some would write to share that they had a prayer answered through Father Peyton's intercession. That was the other type of correspondence in that pile that deepened my faith in God's love and the faith of our brothers and sisters in Christ. There was the simple; my son passed his algebra class to the complex sorting out family relationships and relationships with God and His Church. In each case, the testimony of these people deepened the faith of each of us who read those notes.
I share this with you because that is what we are called to do. As adopted sons and daughters of God, we are made to be in dialogue with our Heavenly Father, knocking, asking, and seeking His help through prayer. Likewise, we are called to be ambassadors for Christ in sharing stories of faith that give hope to those who most need it.
I thought about Queen Esther's reaction to her plight. She didn't begin her relationship with God in her moment of greatest need; it began long before, like those people who have and continue to send in their prayer requests. And the same is true for each of us. The more we pray to God, the better we will be able to trust in Him, especially in a Queen Esther type of moment in our lives. My brothers and sisters, in this Lenten Season, may we continue to grow in praying to God throughout each day, not just for ourselves and our families but also for those we meet, especially for those who most need to know that we care enough to pray for them. Let them know they have a reason for hope—a loving God who listens to our prayers.
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About Father David Marcham
Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!