26th May

A Promise To Pray From Heaven

The Lord told Isaiah to go back to King Hezekiah and say to him: ‘I have heard your prayer and seen your tears …. I will let you live fifteen years longer. 2 Kings 20:4-6

God extended Hezekiah’s life as a result of his prayers. Some early Irish Christians asked their beloved saint Moninna to pray that her life would be extended, too. But in her case God had something else in mind.

Moninna was one of the earliest saints of Ireland about whom we have reliable information. She was a contemplative linked to a community, and much loved by her own people throughout the region. When they learned that she was on her death-bed, the local rulers and many others gathered round, and appealed to the local bishop to give this message to her: ‘We appeal to you as those who are linked to you by blood and by the spirit, that you will give just one more year of your earthly presence with us. For we know that God will give you whatever you ask. In fact any of us who has a slave girl will set her free to the Lord, and every man employed as a fighting man will give away a cow in its prime in exchange for your life.’

Moninna gave these good folk the following reply through the bishop: ‘May God bless you for bothering yourselves with my weak self. If you had asked before yesterday I would have granted your request. But from today I cannot do so. You see, the apostles Peter and Paul have been sent to guide my soul to heaven and they are here with me now. I see them holding a kind of cloth with marvellous gold and artwork. I must go with them to my Lord who sent them. God hears your prayers. He will give a life to one of you. I pray God’s blessing on your wives, children, and homes; I leave you my badger skin coat and my garden tools. I have no doubt that if you carry these with you when enemies attack God will deliver you. Do not be sad at my leaving you. For I truly believe that Christ, with whom I now go to stay, will give you whatever I ask of Him in heaven no less than when I prayed to Him on earth’

Saviour and Friend,
may I leave this life with my loved ones around me.
May I leave this life united with your dear ones in heaven.
May I leave this life with oil and with gladness.
May I leave this life in order to give more blessings.

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