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The Suffering Centurions
I had a thought the other day for a new club: The Suffering Centurions. When a friend is undergoing some very difficult trial, the Centurion volunteers to put a penny in their shoe for 100 days. Why? It's just a little annoying to have something in your shoe when you walk. Not a lot, just a tiny bit annoying.
This has two benefits.
First, you can offer up this tiny inconvenience for the intention of the person you have in mind. It's likely not even 1 percent of 1 percent of what they are undergoing, but Our Lord is not outdone in generosity. The tiniest sacrifice can be made with great love. Jars filled to the brim with water. Five fish. Two loaves. One cent. We may see these things as insignificant, but God never does. We can rest assured that in some mysterious way, though it may only seem like a sliver of the cross that our friend is bearing, we really are able to lighten their burden. Or, perhaps we may say, on their way to Golgotha, we can help them to bear their cross well, by walking with them.
Second, because of all the distractions that surround us, it is easy to forget to pray for our friend. In this case, we are using a distraction to our benefit. When you are slightly distracted by the cent in your shoe, you can remember to offer a quick prayer for your friend. "Lord have mercy."
There is a long history of sending Mass cards, and "spiritual bouquets" to people. I think this is because there is a real benefit to the gift receiver to know that people are praying for them. In some sense, it is a double kindness. It is a great gift to pray for someone, but it is also a gift that they know someone loves them enough to pray for them. So, while it may not always be appropriate, I think in many cases it would be a kindness to let your friend know, after the 100 days are over, that you have been praying and sacrificing for them. Perhaps send them the penny with a short note: "For the past 100 days, I've walked with this penny to remind me to pray for your intention."
Of course, all this time we will also be sanctifying and growing in virtue ourselves.
All from one coin? Why not? Our Lord has wrought miracles with coins found in unexpected places before. "Go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you."
Here's a coin that we can tell our friend we gave back to Our Lord, "For me and for you."
I hope you'll consider joining the club. The dues are very affordable: one cent.
One cent. One centurion.