Standing in the midst of a cemetery for monks, I could see about 30 simple white crosses. I knew almost all of them. For forty years, I had been coming to this monastery on retreat. Most of those who were buried here, I had known personally.

As I looked at each cross, I pictured their faces and remembered them with gratitude. Each year they welcomed me as one of their own. During the night watch, I sat shoulder to shoulder with them, chanting the psalms. I found much peace there.

As I stood in the cemetery, I began to pray for them, as is my custom in cemeteries. I prayed Hail Marys for their eternal repose. Requiescant in pace et lux perpetua luceat eis (May they rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon them).

That particular afternoon had been a difficult one, the Evil One was oppressing me. He’s not too happy I am on retreat I suspect! But the oppression was not so bad that I couldn’t visit my friends in the cemetery. As I finished my prayers for the dead and started to return to the cloister, the oppression instantly lifted. A spiritual calm ensued.

At that moment, I realized that a grace had been given. I had been praying for the monks but, in reality, it was they who were interceding for me. I was standing in the midst of saints. I thought, “My friends, I thank you.”

During our exorcisms, I invoke many of the great, well-known saints, as is proper. Their powerful intercession is well known. I wonder if my personal friends in heaven would help too? In the days ahead, I will ask…

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