First Responders

All-night Adoration

My alarm went off, and I awoke suddenly from my dream. I sleepily turned to look at the alarm on my desk, and the red numbers 12:45 stared back at me.

Yep, it was 12:45…A.M.

My first thought was: “I bet Alex is getting up about now, too.” I stumbled out of my bed, and striving not to wake up the sisters in the rooms next to mine, tiptoed out of my room and through the hallway. Everything was so still.

I quietly opened the door to the dark stairwell and made my way down to the chapel, and as I walked I thought about how my sister Alex and I were both awakened in the middle of the night to respond to a call.

My sister Alex works part-time as an E.M.T, and on Saturdays she pulls a 24-hour shift. She was working on Halloween this year, and she was on call to respond to any emergency that may arise. Working a 24-hour shift means that she can sleep during the night until her team gets a call. As soon as they get a call, they are out the door and into the ambulance in minutes, rushing to the scene. Never sure exactly what to expect, they respond to those who are the most vulnerable, those who are hurting, scared, and possibly dying. Their job, once they stabilize the person, is to rush them to the doctor as quickly as possible. The ambulance speeds through the still night, and the siren pierces through the silence as they rush the person to the hospital. I greatly admire my sister and all of those who work as first responders. I thank God that He has given them the graces necessary to rescue those in emergency situations.
Sr. Agnes Maria with her sister, Alex
On Halloween this year I had a night shift too, although mine was a bit different.

Our community held a prayer service and an all-night vigil on Halloween, praying throughout the night to spiritually combat any evil that may have taken place. We began with praise and worship, interceding through our praises for all of the Lord’s little ones who were hurting. Our praises pierced through the silence of the night as we sang to Jesus. We sang His praises to repair for any curses that may have been uttered against Him. We brought to Him souls who were lost and searching for Him in the wrong places.

Many of us also signed up for an hour to pray in the chapel with Jesus in the Eucharist; we kept watch with Him through the night and prayed until the first ray of sunshine broke through the windows of our chapel. My hour was 1 am. At the sound of my alarm, I awoke to respond to the cries of souls, souls who were spiritually and physically hurting, alone, scared, and possibly dying. I knew that I couldn’t heal them, but I rushed them to the One who could. In prayer, I brought them to Jesus, the Divine Physician, and I placed their broken hearts into His pierced Heart. Just like my sister Alex, I knew that it was not my job to fix these souls. It was my job to rush them as quickly as possible to the One who could.

It was a beautiful experience of spiritual motherhood.

A mother is the first responder to her child. She awakes in the middle of the night to the cry of her child who is hungering, thirsting, and feeling scared and alone. I was waking up in the middle of the night just like a mother to care for souls who were hungering for love, thirsting for mercy, feeling scared and alone. In prayer, I immersed them in the fountain of blood and water flowing from Jesus’ side.

I know that the Lord worked miracles that night through our prayer service and all-night vigil that night. He poured out his love and mercy into many hearts, and many received healings that night.

As Christians, we are all called to be first responders (although we may not all have a night shift).Whether priests, religious or lay people, every baptized Christian is called to be a first responder. When we hear a story of a person who is physically or spiritually hurting, whether that person lives in our neighborhood or halfway across the world, we are all called to rush them to the Divine Physician who binds up every wound.

Just like the men in the Gospel who lowered the crippled man through the roof to Jesus, we are all called to bring those most in need of healing to the One who not only has the power to heal us of our physical wounds, but even more miraculously has the power to heal us of our sins.
-Sr. Agnes Maria Kilonsky, novice

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