Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ in this sweetly lingering Easter season! - It is not easy to keep celebrating! But let us try - that our wellsprings of joy may remind the world that we have plenty to shout about! Alleluia!
When the phone rings before 7 am, like this morning, it is likely a bit of news that cannot wait or a plea for help. This morning it carried both. I departed from the computer keys to listen, to pray. The call no sooner had ended, when in a great departure from the norm, another came in. Really? Really! I surrendered once again to the task at hand. ... And so the morning went... and into the afternoon... the unexpected reigned...
Eventually settling into the chair in the den I mused that while the day was not going as planned, perhaps in a deeper sense it was going exactly as planned - by God. God had provided an object lesson for this month's Communiqué theme: discernment of His Will. In the day-to-day moments sometimes His Will is not so clear cut.
The echo of Our Lady, "Do whatever He tells you," continues to reach and stir us. We want to please God. With St Paul we ask, "Lord what wilt thou have me do?" (Acts 9:6), or with David remind our Lord, "I am thine; do with me according to your good pleasure(Ps 118:94).
Even our desire to seek His Will comes from Him. He beckons. In our response, the Lord meets us with a lavish of graces to learn and submit to His Will. We have learned that just a toe in the water parts the sea (Joshua 3:13). There is more: We not only gain the satisfaction of pleasing God in our compliance, but are sanctified in our conformity and our love is perfected, "The chief effect of love is to unite the hearts of those who love each other so that they have the same will" (St Jerome). When we resist we go backwards, or at best end up in that proverbial somewhere else.
How good to seek His Will - and what a joy to seek His Will as individuals - and together - in this Apostolate! My prayers heartily join yours as you commit in this month of May to discern (see Guidelines) your continued commitment or departure from the weekly Holy Hours as part of a Seven Sisters Apostolate group.
As soon as you have a clear sense (you need not wait until the end of the month), let the Anchoress of your group know the direction of your call for the coming year. Ideally, before June commences, committed intercessors will be identified and able to seamlessly continue in prayerful support of the priest or bishop.
WORTH NOTING: The Apostolate serves all priests/bishops, so be open to the call that might be to remain in the Apostolate, but perhaps serve in a different (or new!) group (ie Hospital Chaplain, retired priest/bishop, associate priest in a parish where pastor already has a group, priests serving in Seminaries, priests that are chaplains/professors in High schools/Universities, Canon lawyers, priests who serve the Chancery, priests in religious orders, etc). Every priestly heart needs and deserves our prayers! Be assured, if you ask, you will know where/how you are called. And likewise, be assured, that God's graces are sufficient to the task!
Continue with holy fidelity and focus to your Seven Sister's commitments through May. It may take extra planning and efforts in this month of 'so much'. Let us be sensitive in remembering that many of our parish priests and bishops are on 'double duty' in this merry, merry month as we celebrate so many events in our sacramental life and special Feast Days, as well. Likewise, many priests will be learning of new assignments and needing our extra sacrifices and prayers as they anticipate transition.
This is a fitting segue to remind that your groups are designed to cover in prayer a priest in a particular position (ie pastor, rector, associate, etc) rather than a particular priest (with the exception of a retired priest who is no longer receiving new assignments). If the priest for whom you are praying is being reassigned, please continue prayers for him until he leaves and his replacement arrives. Then seamlessly begin prayers for the incoming priest. The outgoing priest will hopefully enter into an assignment that has an existing Seven Sisters group - or maybe you can encourage the genesis of one in his new environs!
As a final word, may this heart of our sister in Christ, St Elizabeth Ann Seton be ours: "The first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner He wills it; and thirdly to do it because it is His will."
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.