The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. - Psalm 19:8b
"Love God, serve God. Everything is in that." - St Clare of Assisi
Greetings dearest Sisters...
We are together living in that sweet center of two momentous months for the Seven Sisters Apostolate. Our quiet-and-seeking time of discernment in the month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary now encounters the reality of the call-to-action time of commitment in the month of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Likely, the commands of the Lord have afforded you the necessary radiance of light to see your next step in your place of loving and serving Him.
Please inform your Anchoress TODAY (if you haven't already) whether you will continue with your Seven Sisters group or depart from its schedule and commitment. By informing your Anchoress in a timely fashion, hope remains to adjust/adapt any prayer coverage transitions needed to keep them seamless for our priests. To both those continuing or departing - eternal gratitude. Every sacrifice of prayer bears eternal worth. New beginnings and renewals hold great things - radiant with His light!
Recently while on a hike with friends, one of my comrades took hold of my hand as I gingerly searched for a next step attempting to maneuver across the challenge ofa rapid-running stream. Successfully making it to dry land, I expressed gratitude for her quick assistance. Later I was happily able to reciprocate when the sureness of the law of gravity expressed itself as my friend slid across a slippery log. In both cases a keen hand of support and ready encouragement brought the other to a new and safer place in one unbroken piece! Deeper than that, we each had the unrehearsed opportunity - and joy - of upholding another.
That trek in the woods perhaps hearkens to our endeavors as Seven Sisters. How we rightly excite in the call to help another, to consider another greater than ourselves. In this case, a priest. What a privilege and joy to pray for him! This doctor of souls, whose life is full with prayer, sacrifice, requests, generosity, unpredictability and mystery all at once, is the gladsome recipient of our weekly sacrifices of prayer.
The path to heaven is a universal call. Like my trek in the woods, it is realized by one step at a time: sometimes on predictable ground, other times amidst paths of unanticipated uncertainty. Our Holy Hour pledge of prayer for a priest/bishop is perhaps a bit like the readiness of a steadying hand offered to another. Let me help you with the next step heavenward.
Scripture supports this action, "As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning. ... Aaron and Hur held his hands up- one on one side, one on the other - so that his hands remained steady till sunset" (Exodus 17: 11,12). Our concerted prayers - one on one side, one on the other - assuredly offer steady support to the priest/bishop to whom we are committed to pray. We delight in the seeming littleness of our efforts, yet paradoxically sense a deep value perhaps even beyond measure! In the rays of the Blessed Sacrament our prayer efforts gain greater significance and sureness. For in You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light. Psalm 36:9
Many priests nationwide are learning of new assignments/retirement in these days. It is a new season for these shepherds and a new season for those Seven Sisters in prayer for them. Prayer efforts may need to be ramped up a bit for those in the unsteadiness of the transitions. So many details, one step at a time. Let us generously offer our folded hands in support.
Let us not lose the opportunity to honestly examine and pointedly be aware of and begin the process of our own detaching, letting go of a hand and heart we have held for a season. In embracing this course, the recipient of our prayers may be at greater liberty for his next steps ahead. We too are freed to take on the task of prayer efforts for another that God has chosen.
This is my 'go to' prayer in life's transitions. May this prayer of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) be yours (and for a transitioning priest), as well:
"O my God, fill my soul with holy joy, courage and strength to serve You. Enkindle Your love in me and then walk with me along the next stretch of road before me. I do not see very far ahead, but when I have arrived where the horizon now closes down, a new prospect will open before me, and I shall meet it with peace. Amen."
United in prayer and mission -
that our prayers may find the heart of every bishop and priest
... eternal gratitude as you each remember to offer a wee Hail Mary for me every day.... Pray that I will not 'spoil the beautiful work that God has entrusted...' (St Mother Teresa of Calcutta)