Greetings dearest Seven Sisters...
"Listen and attend with the ear of your heart."
- St. Benedict
One of my past places of duty as an RN was serving in a convent of religious Sisters. One afternoon, after a'flare up of verbal sparks' within the community during lunch, Sr Barbara tread that higher ground and, with a sincere smile, simply said to me later in private, "To know someone is to love them." What grace she readily applied to this fellow Sister of hers, who in my witness certainly seemed to be unjustly critical and hurtful by her sharp words. Sr Barbara heard 'with the ear of her heart' and chose a response in that deeper reality of love.
I have often gone back to that moment with Sister, in the quiet of the hallway of the convent, perplexed about the disturbing event in the Refectory. She took my hand and heart in that moment and nudged me to leave that place of ruminating and join her in entering and lingering in the Heart of Christ, in that richer place of mercy and love for another. She challenged me to listen and to see... differently... to serve that Sister with the charity Christ's perspective and a hope for better and more peaceable lunchtimes ahead.
The very mission of our earthly life is to know God. In that knowing it follows that we love Him and out of that loving, blooms an authentic desire to serve Him. Sr Barbara reminded me that this sure pattern exists as we relate to our earthly brothers and sisters too. Know, love, serve.
What a gift beyond all telling that each week we are called to look and listen and linger in the living Presence of Our Lord on behalf of the priest for whom we are committed to pray. Each visit affords us the opportunity to see Christ a bit more clearly. In that seeing and knowing, the graces exist to see the recipient of our prayers more clearly, as well. Perhaps enough so, to even loosen our grip on an incomplete or narrow perspective and be open to a fuller one.
Christ calls His priests to conformity in Him, as alter Christus, Click here: Alter Christus - to be holy and blameless. Let us allow our prayers to be formed through the benefit of resting in the full spectrum of His Light in the Blessed Sacrament, where all things are made clear. Let us ask for sanctity for our priests, nothing less. Christ's love compels our hearts (II Cor 5:14) "In loving one another through our works, we bring an increase of grace and a growth in divine love." - Bl Mother Teresa of Calcutta
May we remain faithful to our commitment to be praying foremost for the sanctity of our priests, asking the graces for him to live fully in the call of his Holy Orders. Let us persevere in the length of the full Holy Hour, offered solely for the intention of the priest, mindful of these words of Jesus to St Faustina: "I often wait with great graces until towards the end of prayer." Yes, let us avail ourselves to the great graces that assuredly await those who persevere...
PRAYER AID passed on from the practice of a Seven Sister in Minnesota: Turn to the page outlining the Sacred Heart Novena (pg 10) in the Seven Sisters Guidelines booklet. Affix a photocopy image (or sketch one) of the priest/bishop for whom you are praying, as a reminder that your prayers are meant to conform him to the image that is pictured 'above', the image of Jesus Christ Himself.
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 Holy Mary for me each day....
PS The Jan 31 gathering three weeks ago with the ever-growing Seven Sisters in Florida was blessed with grace upon grace. These women are filled with exemplary zeal and joy. One woman shared that on her committed day (Saturday) she 'wakes up with the graces of thoughts of the priest for whom she is committed to pray'. She stated she finds herself offering the entire day to him, the gem and pinnacle being the Holy Hour! What generosity and witness of continued fruit through the Apostolate.
Next anticipated Seven Sisters regional gathering is in Iowa - April 2.