Greetings dearest Seven Sisters...
"This is what I was made for!" - St Joan of Arc
It is said that as God's directive toward raising the siege at Orléans was assuredly unfolding in Joan of Arc's heart, she espoused that she knew nothing of wars or horses. In trust, however, as she mounted her steed for the first time, she uttered, "This is what I was made for!"
How often I have experienced the joy of hearing a similar voice of conviction from those assuming the role of a Seven Sister intercessor. Again and again many express a lovely awakening of heart to this summons to pray for priests. Likely, I am witnessing the bloom of that truth of holy Scripture that assures that God's gifts and his call are irrevocable (Ro 11:29).
Some verbalize it immediately, "When I was asked to do this, my heart leaped to say, 'yes!' or "I was praying for priests before, but this do-able structure and uniting my prayers with others appealed deeply, and I knew I was called to it." Others come to a certitude after offering a few Holy Hours, "I cannot imagine a week without this Holy Hour. How was I spending my week prior to this?" or "I am learning afresh and anew about both myself and Father, as sister and brother in Christ. We are both benefiting. What a privilege to pray!"
We are together on this gladsome journey, together moving into God, into His beckoning of heart into His Heart on these matters, regarding the lives of these priests - and our lives too. His economy leaves nothing or no one orphaned. "In strengthening the priest you strengthen the whole Church..." (Fr Gerald Fitzgerald, s.P.).
Our committed Seven Sister days are not always so straightforward - either in getting to the Chapel or persevering through the hour of prayer or both. Life throws curve balls at times and at times we have misplaced our catching mitt. When I am pressed to make decisions about my day's events in order to remain faithful to this weekly summons, I may find those plans running counter to other opportunities and offerings. Likely, you have found the same challenges in your own lives. Further, our call to pray for our priests/bishops is not necessarily supported by those surrounding us nor those that do not share this particular call in their life at this particular time. So too, we can be our own worst enemy, and, at times, allow our feelings to attempt to dictate our duty. St. Alphonsus Liguori reminds: "He who trusts himself is lost. He who trusts in God can do all things." If you have experienced these challenges, be at peace. God has called you to this way of prayer. His graces are sufficient for you to be faithful to the charge.
Love demands effort. Pope St John Paul II said, "Real love is demanding. For it was Jesus - our Jesus himself - who said: 'You are my friends if you do what I command you' (Jn 15:14). Love demands effort and a personal commitment to the will of God. It means discipline and sacrifice, but it also means joy and human fulfillment." There is reward, indeed, for our discipline and sacrifices, both immediate and long-term. As we move into what we are divinely called to do and be, the freedom and contentedness of being more fully who we are meant to be is ours.
A week seems to roll along at a fierce pace at times. As we journey into God each day, may we steady the pace by savoring the moments. St Francis de Sales reminds, 'Every moment comes to us pregnant with a command from God, only to pass on and plunge into eternity, there to remain forever what we have made it.' While we hope to experience this with more moments than not, let us strive as Seven Sister intercessors to at least weekly commit to sixty minutes of those moments that are pregnant with a command from God. Let us nurture the call on our lives to pray for our assigned priest/bishop and be content that our moments remain forever what we have made them - rich with love.
When our holy sister in Christ, Joan, recognized her weakness in light of God's plans: of a lack of knowledge of wars and horses,then an exuberance of her lot in life - "This is what I was made for!", history tells us she swiftly moved to a resoluteness noted in this response that immediately followed: "I fear nothing for God is with me!"
May this transformation be said of you and of me... a living reality...
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....