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I must be going thru the manic blogging phase, but I was struck earlier today by the anamoly of praying for our spiritual betters. From the earliest times it was understood that some pray-ers have more "success" than other pray-ers. Perhaps for reasons of closeness to God, greater fervency, greater faith, greater willingness to sacrifice, I don't know.
So intercessory prayer for my betters has been problematic. My praying for the Pope is like someone on a respirator praying for an Olympic marathon runner. Feels sort of presumptuous at the least. But now I'm beginning to understand it - and this will probably be obvious to you spiritual gurus - that it is Jesus praying in me. If I can accept (no easy task given my sinfulness) the presence of God within me, then I can accept His presence praying for and through me.
This still does not quite answer the greater efficacy great saints have. I read the inspiring story of Maria Goretti the other day; she prayed for her assassin and eventually he became a monk. I hope this isn't too facetious but it just goes to show if you're going to kill someone, make it a saint.