'What Do You Ask God for Today?'

by Terry Peloquin

Beth Alley of Searsport, Maine, knew something was wrong.

In June 2016, Beth was staying overnight at the John Paul II Guest House on the grounds of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy. "It was as if my balance was going, and in the morning my eyes would sting," she describes. "But I didn't know what it was."

Beth went to the Shrine to pray and got into the lobby elevator. "And there was Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC. I said, 'Oh, I recognize you from the Holy Souls Sodality, because I'm part of it.'"

They talked, and then Beth went into the Shrine. Soon after, Fr. Dan also went in. "He looked at me and said, 'The Lord wants you to have — you're supposed to have this book.'" The book was St. Faustina's Prayer Book for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, by Susan Tassone.

"Well, I've had a great devotion to St. Faustina for years," says Beth, "and this was just one more aspect of being involved with the souls in Purgatory."

Beth travels in her work with the elderly, and she prays for those in her care. "I also pray for those who are sick and have given me prayer intentions." She now keeps a book of prayer intentions.

She also prays the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at each house she goes to. "I think that the Holy Souls Sodality involves your whole life. It encapsulates it, whatever you do for work or for your family. People come to me who have had friends and relatives who've passed away and give me their names and dates they died. They'll call me and say, 'Beth, I have someone for the Holy Souls.' I'll be just standing somewhere and somebody will say, 'So-and-so died at such-and-such a time.' It's like the Lord is showing me it's happening all around you if you keep your ears open."

Beth maintained this awareness when she got stuck in a traffic jam on her drive to this year's Mercy for Souls Conference, Sept. 8. "What should've taken two hours and 45 minutes took five hours," she said.

It was a Friday, and she was driving to Stockbridge. A multiple car accident had shut down the westbound lane. "People were getting out of the cars and smiling at each other, playing Frisbee®." Beth, instead, was concerned that there might be a serious injury or fatality. "I was sitting there praying the Chaplet. God uses everything. And He even used that time in the car."

But, getting back to her previous Shrine visit, it turns out Beth did have something seriously wrong with her. "The Lord was preparing me by bringing me here to the Shrine for His mercy. I didn't know I had a brain tumor — an acoustic neuroma."

After Beth went home from her Shrine trip, she went to a hospital for testing and diagnosis. She would later go through 13 hours of surgery. "Doctors didn't know if I would survive," she says.

Before the surgery, a priest was not available. A minister asked Beth, "What do you ask God for today?" She answered, "I pray for God's mercy."

Beth's daughter, Sadie, heard her mother's prayer request. "I heard from one of her friends, 'Sadie said you just asked for God's mercy.' Out of everything Sadie went through with me, that's what stuck with her — that I just asked for God's mercy. So you see how the Lord uses everything? I continue to ask, and He continues to give His mercy."