Advent greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ...
In these shared December days, the world frenetically prepares for an event or at best, a nebulous season whose definition is up for grabs. As Catholics we utilize our Advent hours to prepare, not for an event, but for a Person. We fittingly and happily remind each other of the immense gift of relationship with that One brought into our midst - our Emmanuel, God with us. He is that One Who emptied Himself to make right both the course of history and of our hearts. He is that One Who firmly sets our feet upon the holy highway, designed for those with a journey to make (Isaiah 35: 8,9). He is that One Who defines our life, our mission, our purpose. He is that One.
Several years ago I attended a talk entitled, "Handfuls of History." Offering persuasive examples, the speaker proposed that the course of history was/is changed not by scores of people, but rather by individuals - by a few, mere handfuls. Our Faith tradition supports this notion. Our life eternal springs from our life in the one Christ. While desiring unity among us, He nonetheless seeks each individually. The work of the heart is done not en masse, but one-by-one.
We recall that Christ's inner circle of Apostles were beckoned individually by a glance of the eye and a call. When complete, they numbered only twelve. Later Jesus sent out His followers on mission: two-by-two. A group for this Apostolate becomes 'official' with merely a circle of seven praying for one. "Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you" (St Teresa of Calcutta). There is an intimacy in smallness that heavenly ways seems to prefer and Seven Sisters finds benefit in embracing.
Our hearts find strength and verve in this way too. How we delight to look to and discover anew courageous and generous Saintly individuals that one-by-one find their place among the great cloud of witnesses cheering us on. These relationships bless us to be a blessing. We too are summoned and sent forth on parallel mission to our holy predecessors, to be a compelling example and sympathetic influence, helping to draw others onto that great holy highway.
Over and again Seven Sister intercessors bear witness and words to a distinctive God-given call to join these prayer endeavors. These small handfuls of faithful, individual intercessors carry the potential to edify the course of history in their little corner of the world. We are each with a dynamic part in the unfolding of history. There is a power of one.
As a Seven Sister, your one hour for one priest each week hearkens to that pebble tossed in a still lake. While the concentric ripples display a seemingly obvious response to the pebble's initial impact on the lake's surface, the reality is that the ripples are actually formed from the impact of the displaced water underneath! What is seen outwardly from your Holy Hours has its origins in the fertile, hidden and deep silence of the Adoration Chapel. Your sacrifices of prayer have worth beyond measure.
Based on the 2015 findings of CARA (Georgetown U based - Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate), one priest (on average) distributes Communion 27,000 times a year, baptizes 21 babies, offers the sacrament of reconciliation 352 times a year, presides at Holy Mass 468 times a year, anoints the sick 10 times a year and presides over 4 marriages per year. On average that one priest will serve approximately 50 years, swelling these figures to nearly 1.4 million acts of God's sacramental love offered by a single priest. Oh, and lest we forget... nothing has yet been mentioned regarding countless works of mercy, prayers, hospital visits, street evangelization, spiritual counseling, mentoring of marriages/consecrated vocations and simple acts of daily kindnesses and example. Indeed, the power of one looms more real than a simple, stark cliche. The winds of the Holy Spirit blow where they may...
As we continue in our Advent season preparation to know, love and serve more fully and deeply Our-Lord-come-among-us, we do well to heed the counsel of St Peter Julian Eymard as we pray the same preparation for the priests and bishops to whom we are committed to pray: "Have confidence in prayer. It is the unfailing power which God has given us. By means of it, you will obtain the salvation of the dear souls whom God has given you and all your loved ones. 'Ask and you shall receive,' Our Lord said. Be yourself with the good Lord."
Yes, let us be the one the Lord has called us to be - faithful to respond in love and generosity to the holy endeavors He has called us to share in this Apostolate! Despite our seemingly small hour coupled with our seemingly small group, this is no small matter! The soul for whom you pray has the potential, as yours, to positively influence the course of history.
Blessed and holy Advent and Christmas seasons to you and your loved ones.
Dive deep, climb high! "Be yourself with the good Lord." He is that One!
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)
...your kind emails and notes and generous support always arrive to my heart door at the right moment! Eternal gratitude is mine for YOU! Be assured of my continued daily prayers for you at the altar.
SEVEN SISTERS - in and out and about:
A word about ABBREVIATIONS: In this age of economizing time, swift typing and tweeting, it is tempting to shorten everything. Abbreviations can be confusing outside of context. Fr Johnson, the Apostolate Chaplain, asks that we please refrain from using SS or SSA to refer to the Apostolate. Both bear connotations that do not point to our efforts. (for example: SS: Secret Service, Social Services. SSA: Same Sex Attraction, Social Security Administration) Blessed exception: Fr Johnson approves of the use of 7 Sisters as an apropos abbreviation.
RECENT GROWTH: Groups continue to bloom in several 'established' states (lately, esp Nebraska and Minnesota). Priests are now being covered with prayer in these NEW states: West Virginia, Montana, Illinois and Arizona. Manila, Philippines also has a new group. One heart welcome to all!
SPANISH translation of Communique: This is generously done every month by Zahyra B, Anchoress for a Seven Sisters group in Venezuela. They are then posted (and archived) on the Website. If it is easier to receive through an email account, please let me know.
REMEMBRANCE of those SEVEN SISTERS who have PASSED: We want to remember those Seven Sisters in name and in prayer, who have gone before us to their eternal rest. Click on ABOUT folder and scroll to bottom, choose: IN REMEMBRANCE. Follow prompts... OR you may submit info via the Website email or to my email address.
AHEAD on the calendar:
Lorrie E will staff an informational booth at the Beauty in Christ Women's Conference in Cedar Rapids, IA, on January 27, 2018 (8 am - 3 pm)
Serra Club (MN) February 2018
Informational: February 2018 (St Paul)
EWTN spot (TBD)
Day of Recollection: Cedar Rapids, Iowa. March of 2018. Theme: Getting to Know our Patrons
Gatherings in North Dakota, Georgia, Nebraska, Florida remain in the prayer/discernment stage.