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For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith
For the Kingdom of God to come!
During the Revolution, the Countess de Chateaubriand was thrown into prison with her daughter, while her son, then a free thinker, had embarked for America. Although in prison and surrounded by the horrors of the Revolution, the unfortunate mother thought less about her own misfortune and that of her daughter, than about the fate of her son, who had lost his faith. When the countess fell ill in her dungeon, she asked God one last time for her son’s return to the faith. Then she made her daughter promise to tell the absent brother that her dying mother’s last prayer was for his conversion. After the death of the countess on the scaffold, Mlle de Chateaubriand wrote to her brother what her mother had recommended. Shortly afterwards, she too went up, innocent victim, to the guillotine; but the letter fortunately reached the young count, and this letter written near the mortal remains of a beloved mother, made an indescribable impression on M. de Chateaubriand. He never forgot for the rest of his life this voice from beyond the grave calling him back to the Christian faith. He threw himself on his knees, began to pray again, and he felt that inner peace and happiness returned to his heart with prayer. He then became one of the great apologists of Christianity; his works went around the world and his “Genius of Christianity” inaugurated a religious revival such as had not been seen for a century.
The intercession of Christians for one another is so powerful that Saint James already exhorted Christians “to pray for one another in order to be saved” (James 5:16). It is above all the prayer of a mother for her child that God loves to answer.
When a fire broke out in a house in Vienna, a mother took refuge in the cellar with her five-year-old child to save herself from the fire. But the smoke entered and asphyxiated the mother. The last words she uttered, which the child could understand, were a cry of supreme distress to the Mother of God, to whose care she had entrusted her child. Indeed, the divine Mother protected the little boy who, after the fire was extinguished, came out of his hiding place safe and sound. In the street he kept repeating: “My mother is dead!” But people passed by without paying attention. Finally a Jesuit passed by, stopped and questioned the little orphan; then he took him under his protection and made him do his studies. After finishing his studies at the Gymnasium, the young man – his name was Pöck – entered the Major Seminary and became a priest. He died at the age of 72, parish priest of Hart-Kirchen in Austria (1785). Mr. Pöck often told his parishioners about his miraculous preservation, the progress he had made in his studies, which he attributed to the prayers of his dying mother. He especially recommended to the children to observe the fourth commandment of God.
A striking example of what we can do to help each other through prayer. The effectiveness of Saint Monica’s prayer for her son Augustine is too well known to need to be repeated here.