The urgency for prayer and petition should not begin when we are most desperate. Our prayers for protection and deliverance from evil begin before that. Most of all, because we naturally desire protection: everyone values safety. Likewise, this sense of hope enables us to be situationally aware of our condition and all potential threats. That is why it’s better to listen to warnings early and pray for protection and deliverance before a threat makes itself real.
Most of the world may have never heard of St. Vincenza Pasini, but she was a prayerful peasant’s wife who understood the important of the earliest appeals for prayer. The people of the historical city of Vicenza, Italy in the early 15th-century were somewhat dissimilar to Pasini. Desperate in their own way, they had been fighting a pestilence for over a decade, when in 1426, Vincenza told the townspeople that as she was bringing lunch and drink to her husband laboring on a nearby hill overlooking the valley, the Virgin Mary appeared to her with instructions.
The Blessed Virgin promised that the people of Vicenza would be delivered from the plague if on the spot of the apparition, they built a church. “I am the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ who died on the cross for the salvation of men. I beg you to go and say in my name to the people of Vicenza that they must build in this place a church in my honor if they want to recover their health. Otherwise, the plague will not cease.”
Even Pasini was somewhat unconvinced, replying to Mary of the despondent and spiritual visionlessness of the local peoples. Our Lady assured her, “As proof of what I say, let them dig here, and from the rock, living water will spring.” ….