|Mother of God Interceding|
When I was in seminary (my goodness ~ 40 years ago!) a priest told me that prayer of intercession was the lowest form of prayer. I just accepted it because I was a seminarian and seminarians don't know otherwise about anything. Now I'm a senior priest and I can say not only is the priest's claim false, but that intercession is a way to pray always, as Saint Paul enjoins:
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:17,18)
And then we may have heard these verses recently at Mass from another of Saint Paul's letters:
Brothers and sisters: from the day we heard about you, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding... (Colossians 1:9,10)
At the end of the Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, paragraphs 281-283, Pope Francis speaks beautifully about intercession. This is so worth reading. Be encouraged!
281. One form of prayer moves us particularly to take up the task of evangelization and to seek the good of others; it is the prayer of intercession. Let us peer for a moment into the heart of St. Paul, to see what his prayer was like. It was full of people: "I constantly pray with you in every one of my prayers for all of you...because I hold you in my heart:" (Phil. 1:4,). Here we see that intercessory prayer does not divert us from true contemplation, since authentic contemplation always has a place for others.
282. This attitude becomes a prayer of gratitude to God for others. "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you" (Romans 1:8). It is constant thankfulness: "I give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus: (1 Cor 1:4); "I thank my God in all remembrance of you: (Phil 1:3). Far from being suspicious, negative and despairing, it is a spiritual gaze born of deep faith which acknowledges what God is doing in the lives of others. At the same time, it is the gratitude which flows from a heart attentive to others. When evangelizers rise from prayer, their hearts are more open; freed of self-absorption, they are desirous of doing good and sharing their lives with others.
283. The great men and women of God were great intercessors. Intercession is like "a leaven in the heart of the Trinity." It is a way of penetrating the Father's heart and discovering new dimensions which can shed light on concrete situations and change them. We can say that God's heart is touched by our intercession, yet in reality God is always there first. What our intercession achieves is that his power, his love and his faithfulness are shown ever more clearly in the midst of the people.
I would add: let your prayer of intercession far exceed your own immediate and familial concerns. Let your prayer-net be cast far and wide as they say, encircling the planet in all of its tearful troubles. If you are awakened at night, perhaps it is the Spirit's prompting you to intercede with the monks and nuns who pray in the darkness about the world's darkness, in the time when the most terrible things happen.
Pray about the situations of which others say, "Oh I don't even want to know that," or "Oh I have to look away, that makes me sad." Looking the other way, shielding my eyes and sensibilities ~ these are luxuries we don't have.
You know this little boy is three-year-old Aylan Kurdi? He and his mother and five-year-old brother drowned when the boat they were in, fleeing the ISIS-Kurdish fighting in Syria, capsized in the Mediterranean Sea. His body washed up on the beach of a fashionable resort in Bodrum, Turkey.
Europe is presently overwhelmed with refugees fleeing Libya and Syria where civil war, corruption, gangs and terrorists have brought these countries to dissolution. It is the most dire refugee crisis since the Second World War...
That the net of our heart-awake-intercessions would encircle the world.