Greetings dearest Sisters...
I visited a friend who was nearing the threshold of this life, leaning toward the next. She was lucid when I arrived that afternoon and I took advantage of her wakefulness to pose a question: "Tell me your favorite Mystery of the rosary. Let's pray it." Flashing a radiant-albeit-weak smile, without hesitation, she breathed her sure answer, "Oh ... the Agony in the Garden."
It came as no surprise that while Pat likely had the energy reserves for only one decade that afternoon, she would swiftly choose such a fitting Mystery for our mutual meditation. Her life seemed to amplify its essence: adherence to the will of God through perseverance.
It is something I admired more deeply in her that day ... and something I clearly recognize in the woman that gives her fiat to the Seven Sisters way of prayer. Like Pat, she is a woman whose "yes means yes" and despite an occasional (frequent?) unexpected 'barbed wire' in the path, she keeps her commitment to prayer, her resolution to the Will of God to pray.
The Catechism (#2741) reminds through the late 4th c monk, Evagrius Ponticus: "We have not been commanded to work, to keep watch and to fast constantly, but it has been laid down that we are to pray without ceasing." Over and again I learn from Seven Sisters intercessors that they are not "fitting this Holy Hour" into their schedule, but rather make a distinction that they are "allotting this time within their life of prayer" for this purpose. Surely, this perspective and witness of fervor blooms out of love: humble, trusting and persevering.
Our perseverance is a gift. "We must pray incessantly for the gift of perseverance," advises St Philip Neri. Our Lord puts a desire in our hearts to persevere. At times it seems elusive. Let us pray as St Philip advises and trust we will receive it! "Perseverance is a great grace. To go on gaining and advancing every day, we must be resolute, and bear and suffer as our blessed forerunners did. Which of them gained heaven without a struggle?" (St Elizabeth Ann Seton)
The Catechism (#2729) also reminds that "the habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction." In April of 2016 I sent a Communique on this subject and it might prove beneficial to revisit it. In a nutshell: distractions are a universal challenge even among the saints, but not insurmountable. Discipline to turn one's heart back to attending to God and His presence is the certain defeat of distraction. Let us be resolute. Remain stouthearted in developing that discipline. As has been memorably said, "Get cracking" (Mother Angelica). Let us not underestimate or judge the merits of developing the discipline to persevere. Simply continue. St Alphonsus Liguouri (Feast: Aug 1), encourages and reminds: "If you have many distractions at prayer, that prayer of yours may well be upsetting the devil a great deal."
Likely nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring. We experience this in the physical world and know the same to be true in the finest of our endeavors in the spiritual realm. May God continue to richly reward us as we hold fast to the course of our commitments to pray for our priests and bishops.
If you are unable to meet the committed hour of your particular day, you remain faithful to your duty by securing someone to accept the privilege of covering for you. You need only to explain the Apostolate mission as best you can, emphasizing that the Holy Hour is completely given to the intentions of one priest/bishop. A growing number of women have become keen to a call to serve in the Apostolate as full time intercessors by being asked to cover a Holy Hour here and there. How beautiful are God's plans to extend His invitation...
May God richly reward our tenacity, fidelity, perseverance and love - the lasting thing!
I have long had the feeling that, since the world is growing so rapidly worse and worse and God has lost His hold, as it were, upon the hearts of men, He is looking all the more earnestly and anxiously for big things from those who are faithful to Him still. He cannot, perhaps, gather a large army round His standard, but He wants every one in it to be a hero, absolutely and lovingly devoted to Him. - Fr William Doyle, SJ
United in prayer and mission -
that our prayers may find the heart of every bishop and priest
... eternal gratitude continues 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)
I am also grateful for your emails and notes of encouragement, as well as sacrificial donations to the Apostolate. I pass many materials on weekly, so be assured that 100% of your giving is used for the Apostolate and its furtherance.