Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ – Mary’s fiat on the 25th of March lent allowance to the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. The query of how can this be, came to be. Her fiat might be said to be all-embracing in quietness, trust and strength. Come every 25th of December we commemorate and celebrate the blessed fruit of her fiat and of her womb, Jesus.
Mary, as model of docility to the Holy Spirit, can inspire Seven Sisters to live more deeply in the friendship of the Holy Spirit. Consideration of the Apostolate’s anchor Scripture: …in quietness and trust is your strength (Isaiah 30:15) is a fitting framework, for Mary fully lived it. Advent into Christmastide presents the perfect milieu to awaken to the key roles of the Spirit in this Apostolate.
Quietness: Our commitments to Holy Hours dutifully and naturally bring us to environments of quiet that, in turn, ideally move us to quiet our inner places. In preparation for His earthly departure, Jesus promised His followers that He would send the Paracletos to comfort, console and guide those who belong to Him. The quieted heart is the resting place of wisdom, healing and inspiration, marks of the HS. The impulse of the Spirit moved the authors of sacred Scripture and whispered myriads of invitations and words of guidance and healing to souls across the span of history, including a call during Adoration to the work given the name Seven Sisters. The splendid image of the Holy Spirit (imaged here) hovered nearby that very Adoration Chapel (like hovering over the waters) and serves as a powerful reminder of both the fruit of quietness and the work of the Holy Spirit in it. Many of you attest to sensing that still, small voice in the quietness of heart to give assent as an intercessor in this Apostolate and/or to help it grow. Many more of you speak about the guidance received during the offerings of the Holy Hours. Yes, the Holy Spirit in a sense overshadows us in our dedicated quietness, fit to bear fruit! “God cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence…. God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer” (St Teresa of Calcutta).
Trust: Most Seven Sisters do not enter the Chapel with a roster of prayer intentions. Trust has ample and ready room for growth! An encouraging and comforting ministry of the Holy Spirit, and one keenly akin to us, is intercession. We may be tempted to be in a quandary of what and how to pray, but can remain assured that the Spirit intercedes with and for us. The HS comes alongside to lend assistance through inspiration of what to pray, assistance in searching Sacred Scripture to offer (after all, the Spirit is the Author) or will intercede with wordless groans. The thoughts and ways of God are higher. In acceptance of this, trust increases. Sacred Scripture reminds that the winds blow where it will, alluding to the work of the Holy Spirit. But let us not be shy to, at times, summon the winds of the Spirit: “Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden and eat his pleasant fruits” (Song of Solomon 4:16). The HS comes to teach us all things, trust included, so let us be good disciples in learning and be fixed in a firm heart of entrusting all things to God’s perfect Will and Way. “I ask not to see. I ask not to know. I ask simply to be used” (St John Henry Cardinal Newman).
Strength: Praying and living in the well-founded principles of quietness and trust brings remarkable inner strength. The holy ones who have gone before, Mother Mary at the forefront, are sure examples. We are invited to do the same – and God willing, can and will! The Holy Spirit is the Lord and Giver of life, where newness of life reigns. The fruit of the Spirit grows within and strengthens our disposition to follow the promptings of the HS towards a sound moral life and active life of faith. It is the Spirit that moves us to call Jesus our Lord (I Cor 12:3) and thus, as Seven Sisters, to pray with assurance for others. The very Love of God overflows our hearts with strength. The scene of Elijah (I Kings 18:41-46) running in front of a horse drawn chariot (for 7-8 miles) fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit highlights the tie between body and soul. Elijah’s prayer for rain was earnest, expectant and ultimately effective. Let us imitate this! “Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to Him. That is all the doing you have to worry about” (St Jane Frances de Chantal).
Had but one glance been granted Mary at the time of the Annunciation, the radiance of that blessed moment of the hiddenness of Trinitarian love, may have blinded her. The work we are called to do as Seven Sisters is at its very best done in quietness and trust. The splendid effects of our sacrifices of prayers, if known, would likely completely confound us, as well. Simple fidelity to the mission of prayer brings strength. In that prayer, we live the balance between the rousing forces of the Holy Spirit, and the calming, soothing power thereof. Oh, Holy Spirit, sustain and grow our friendships…
Breathe into me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy. Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy. Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.
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…. “One Ave Maria makes hell tremble” (St John Vianney). Pray that I will not ‘spoil the beautiful work that God has entrusted…’ (St Teresa of Calcutta) … your kind emails and notes and phone calls and generous support always arrive to my heart door at the right moment! Your financial sacrifices are for 100% furtherance of Apostolate. THANK YOU! The letters of testimony are so beautiful and edifying! What glory is given to God through your writing! Eternal gratitude is mine for YOU! Be assured of my continued daily prayers for you at the altar.
Janette (Howe) +JMJ+