A wise Catholic pastor was accustomed to receiving complaints from his parishioners on a regular basis. “Your homily was too long”, “The nave is too hot”, “The nave is too cold”, “The music was too slow”, were some of the ongoing complaints this priest would hear after Mass.

One day the pastor took a new approach when receiving a complaint. After each well-intentioned parishioner doled out their concerns, the pastor would say to that person, “Pray for me right now.” As you can probably guess, the complaints soon ended as parishioners caught on that they would be tasked with praying for their pastor right then and there.

We, too, may want to develop an approach like the one of this pastor when confronted with unkind remarks about us or others. We can simply request a prayer for us or for another, at that very moment. Prayer is always helpful and this approach is a way of reminding others that complaining, gossiping, and hurting others with our words are sins. An immediate prayer is a great remedy in this situation.

We are Catholic. We are called to pray without ceasing. Let’s take opportunities to pray with others when engaged in an unexpected critical dialog. This approach can also be used when someone requests a prayer for a particular person or intention. Simply say “Let’s pray for that person/intention right now.” Bringing Jesus into our conversations is a sure way to seek His guidance throughout our day and is a reminder for others to seek Him as well.

Ponder: Think of times when you have been asked to pray for others but have forgotten to pray for the request.

Reflect: 1 Tim 2:1-2

Pray: Heavenly Father, help me to always remember that you are always with me and want to be included in my daily conversations.