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I came to see You today. As I knelt in front of You during my weekly holy hour of Adoration I looked up to You in the monstrance atop the tabernacle and I felt You descend and put Your arm around me. You knew my heart was heavy.

You asked me what was weighing me down. My answer to You surprised even me. It wasn’t a request to have You take care of and hold close to You my two daughters and the grandbabies they are carrying in their wombs.  I didn’t ask You to heal another loved one who is experiencing some unexplained health problems. Nor did I ask You to watch after my youngest daughter as she prepares to leave home and go to college later this week. No, those prayers came later.

I didn’t know why but I felt compelled to pray for and ask for Your blessings on the thousands of Christians about whom I have read are being persecuted in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East because they believe in You.

You prophesied, “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first….If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you….And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.” (John 15: 18, 20-21, NAB)

Lord Jesus, I pray for Your blessings on those men, women and children who are being “persecuted for righteousness sake” and that You open up “the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:10) to them as they profess their faith in You even under the threat of death. Please protect them, Lord, and give them the strength and courage to do Your will.

I confess to You I didn’t want to, but I did summon up the will to pray for the enemy, ISIS, as You commanded, “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44, NAB). That’s a tough one. I don’t feel loving towards them for even a second but I do wish them love and peace in their hearts. I think that’s what You mean.

Tonight at home, I read something in a Catholic publication and I suddenly understood why You made this prayer first and foremost in my heart and on my mind. Today, 1 August 2014, was declared by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter to be a worldwide day of Adoration and prayer for the persecuted Christians of Syria, Iraq and the Middle East. I didn’t know this when I was with You.

Lord, You play these tricks on me quite frequently. I’m so glad You do. You keep me guessing, and I know God-Moments like these are how

You keep my attention.

(The post You Keep My Attention was first published in Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

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