By most accounts, people would consider me a devout Catholic, even though I only manage to go to mass once or twice a month. I’m as active as I can be at my parish and I try and observe holy days and feast days like Ash Wednesday. When I do go to mass I tend to enjoy it, if for no other reason than for an hour of quiet in an otherwise very busy, loud week. Sometimes, however, I really feel a connection to the Gospel message or what the priest is discussing during his homily. That was the case this Sunday. The priest, a Jesuit and English professor, had an excellent take on the Gospel passage, one that I immediately related to and incorporated into my beliefs. The story, related from Mark was the episode where a paralytic had to be lowered through the roof in order to be healed by Jesus. The point that really struck me, that I had never considered, was that Christ remarks that the paralytic is healed because of the faith of his friends who lowered him down. In Mark’s version of the story (I didn’t look up the other versions) there is no mention of the paralytic’s faith. The reason why this has such meaning for me, as the celebrant illustrated as well, is that my faith can bring others before Christ as well, can heal them, even if they don’t believe themselves. On many occasions I have told friends that I will keep them in my thoughts and prayers and I truly do. I have often wondered if my prayers are of use, especially when praying for those that do not believe. This interpretation gives me an agency that I never really believed I had, in essence my faith is enough for those that I care for and love. By praying for my friends and loved ones I am presenting them to Christ and he listens and heals them, regardless of their faith. It was a very strong message leading into Lent that I needed to hear.