Greetings dearest Seven Sisters...
"Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch." Jesus, St. Luke 5:4
Our dear Shepherds are far from land lubbers. With faces set as flint (Is 50:7) they learn to peer both upon and beyond the water, studying pleasantries and uncertainties alike, for the Master beckons them into the deep, where both are found. By their assent they have inherited a mission. They are altogether shepherds and fishers of men. Christ's love compels and guides.
The priest rightly finds his surest security for his ventures into the deep, cradled in a seaworthy craft, the barque of St Peter, the Church. Its mast, the cross. Its sails, billowed by the Holy Spirit. The milieu, oft fraught with waves of a relentless sea of disbelief, worldliness and persecution. The image hearkens to a reminder of the security of Noah's family during the flood (I Peter 3:20-21) and Jesus safeguarding Peter and the apostles on the stormy Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35-41). Traditionally, one's earthly life is seen as a pilgrimage, the ship of the Church transporting the faithful through the seas of the world to the heavenly home.
One thing of certitude: safety is aboard, not overboard. Jumping ship, while perhaps considered, is not an option for longevity nor viability. Taking one's eye off the course has its consequences, as well. Being prepared for weather changes - good and not-so-good - is imperative. Our priests need to be clear-headed, courageous, disciplined and authentic witnesses of hope - as they move through the courses of their days and nights. They are called to consistently live in that deeper space, that deeper realm. The heart (of a priest) must be divorced from all that is not of God. (Canon T Guillard).
In the daily navigation, our dear Shepherds merit the constancy of our prayers. And, in fact, rely on them. They do not remain land lubbers - nor should we. Let us take up the challenge of embarking on a close journey with our bishops and priests, to that deeper space, that deeper realm. Let us offer the prayer coverage that responds to an awareness and experience of the challenges of traveling in the deep, asking for a lavishing of graces (Eph 1:7,8), come what may.
This path to which a priest is called is his designated path to sanctity. May our prayers support God's plans. And in the beautiful way of God's economy, his prayers support this same plan of God for our lives: sanctity. As St Therese of Lisieux reminds, "You cannot be half a saint; you must be a whole saint or no saint at all." This is the goal of our prayers for our priests to whom we are committed to pray - sanctity - nothing more, nothing less.
"A saint is a man before he is a saint. Yes, the saints were human as we ourselves are. They were faced with the same difficulties, and temptations and wrestlings and agonies that confront us, and they dealt with them just as we do, only more bravely, and with a greater constancy and a more steadfast hope. When we realise this, we feel that, at however great a distance, we still may dare to equate ourselves with them. Sanctity is a goal to which there is no short cut, a temple to which there is no back entrance. To it, there is but One Way - His, Who said of Himself, 'I am the Way.'" (from The Living Pyx of Jesus by a Religious, Pelligrini and Co., Australia, 1941)
St Teresa of Calcutta reminds that "Joy is the net of souls." May a constancy of joy fuel our actions of prayer for the priests to whom we are committed to pray. May we, as Seven Sister intercessors, accept the assistance of graces as St Paul prays (Phil 2:2) to: ...make (our) joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. May we too, like our Shepherds, allow Christ's love to compel and guide.
United in prayer and mission -
that our prayers may find the heart of every bishop and priest
... eternal gratitude as you remember to offer a wee Hail Mary for me each day....
Madonna of the Grapes, pray for us!
St John Vianney, pray for us!
St Margaret Clitherow, pray for us!
Our benevolent Lord has continued to provide all that is needed, when it is needed for the Apostolate - this time in the person of a lovely hidden handmaid of the Apostolate, Mary, who designed a most beautiful Web space. (And in the so-doing our Lord called her to start a new Seven Sister group and serve as Anchoress!) Experience the site for yourself and invite others to do the same! Find your group on the Google map!
The Apostolate spreadsheet (which now helps keep the Google map current!) is still in need of the most up-to-date information. Another lovely hidden handmaid of the Apostolate, Marg, will be contacting you if further information is needed or needs clarification. Her email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. So if she comes knocking in your InBasket, let her in!
Trusting you have SAVED the DATE!
Third Annual SEVEN SISTERS Archdiocesan Gathering and time of Reflection
Saturday, November 5, 2016
St Patrick Catholic Church
19921 Nightengale St NW
Oak Grove, MN 55011
Located at http://mapq.st/14bmq7c
***Registration begins at 8:30 am ***
Morning begins in the very best of ways:
Adoration - 9 am
Relic of St John Vianney available for veneration
Holy Mass - 10 am
Presider: Archbishop Bernard Hebda
Fr Joseph Johnson, Apostolate Chaplain, Pastor of Holy Family, St Louis Park
Fr Allan Paul Eilen, Pastor of St Patrick Catholic Church
Our time together will also include...
Opening remarks by Archbishop Hebda
Delicious Fall luncheon
(free will offering)
Reflection by Fr Joseph Johnson
Apostolate updates, testimonies, Q&A
Final Blessing at 2 pm