Evening reflection: Why we pray

So confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another to be cured; the heartfelt prayer of someone upright works very powerfully.
My brothers, if one of you strays away from the truth, and another brings him back to it, he may be sure that anyone who can bring back a sinner from his erring ways will be saving his soul from death and covering over many a sin.

James 5: 16,19-20

There is a hierarchy of sins. Some are worse than others, as today’s Bible passage, which we will hear at Vespers, reminds us. Many sins can be forgiven by a single act, such as the bringing “back a sinner from his erring way”. How do we do that? There are many ways, and they are dependent on the people involved. Some will work for one person, but not for another.

Prayer is always a first step. We do not pray solely for ourselves, but also for others. And a heartfelt prayer for someone we love can, literally, work wonders. But in order for that prayer to be heartfelt, we need to be honest to God, and no less to ourselves. God sees through pretenses, and He will know if a prayer for someone’s wellbeing is really only intended for our own peace of mind.

Pray honestly, knowing your own sins and faults. Pray for your own conversion of heart, so that you in turn may convert others to God, be it through prayer, words or deeds.

Cardinal watch: Cardinal Sánchez passes away

Eight days before his 92nd birthday, Philippine cardinal José Tomás Sánchez passed away early this morning in Manila. He was among the oldest members of the College of Cardinals, with only six cardinals older.

Cardinal Sánchez was born in 1920 in the Philippines and became a priest for the Diocese of Sorsogon in 1946. In 1968 he was appointed as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Caceres and only three years later, in 1971, as Coadjutor Bishop of Lucena. He succeeded to that see in 1976. In 1982, Bishop Sánchez became Archbishop Sánchez of Nueva Segovia, from which position he resigned in March of 1986, five months after he was called to Rome to become secretary of the Vatican mission office, the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

Archbishop Sánchez was created a cardinal by Blessed Pope John Paul II in the consistory of 28 June 1991, and almost immediately afterwards became the prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy and President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See. He resigned from the latter in 1993 and from the former in 1996.

He held the title church of San Pio V a Villa Carpegna, first as cardinal-deacon and later as cardinal-priest. Cardinal Sánchez never participated in a conclave, being already over 80 when Pope Benedict XVI was elected.

The College of Cardinals now numbers 212, with 124 electors.