Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ as we continue in this Eastertide jubilation – all the way to Pentecost Sunday, June 9. It is not easy to keep celebrating! Yet as Seven Sisters we trust for the stamina to press on further still - to meet the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (June 28) with happiness, tender souls and indescribable JOY (St John XIII).
As Seven Sisters we find ourselves in the sweet spot: at the close of our discernment in May moving into our profession of God’s Will for us in June (on or near the Feast of the Sacred Heart). Please inform your Anchoress TODAY (if you haven’t already) whether you will continue with your group another year or depart from its schedule and commitment. We hope to keep the Holy Hours seamless, as we have guaranteed them, for each priest and bishop. Keeping your Anchoress updated is vital.
Whether remaining or leave-taking – eternal gratitude! Every sacrifice, every prayer bears eternal worth, for love is the lasting thing. New beginnings and renewals alike hold great graces – each entering the Will and vivacity of the infinite love of Christ through His Sacred Heart for you!
My return to the Catholic Faith (03/20/99) is intimately linked to the Sacred Heart. The first religious image I purchased for my home was that of the Sacred Heart. It was affixed to my bedroom wall near my bed. Those early morning moments were oft spent gazing on the image. Grace upon grace in those days, I sensed a deep assurance – then deeper still - of the truth and love of God through His Church, specifically through the Eucharist. “In the Sacred Heart every treasure of wisdom and knowledge is hidden. In that Divine Heart beats God’s infinite love for everyone, for each one of us individually” (Pope St John Paul II). All told, everyone is intimately linked to the Sacred Heart for the defining assurance of the full truth of the Eucharist as source and summit of our life, our Faith. It is fitting then that the Apostolate universally renews its commitment in this month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Its Eucharistic and pastoral themes are the firm influence. Many Seven Sisters (myself included) use the Novena to the Sacred Heart (pg 10 in Guidelines Booklet) every offered Holy Hour for their priest recipient. St Padre Pio prayed it for everyone asking him for prayer.
According to the Directory on Popular Piety (written for bishops and their collaborators as a pastoral guide linking the relationship between liturgy and popular piety), devotion to the Sacred Heart has been a vital part of Christian devotion since the beginning. When viewed, “in the light of the Scriptures, the term ‘Sacred Heart of Jesus’ denotes the entire mystery of Christ, the totality of his being, and his person considered in its most intimate essential: Son of God, uncreated wisdom; infinite charity, principal of the salvation and sanctification of mankind. The ‘Sacred Heart’ is Christ, the Word Incarnate, Saviour, intrinsically containing, in the Spirit, an infinite divine-human love for the Father and for his brothers.” Every word seems to dovetail into the heart of our Apostolate!
“There is in the Sacred Heart the symbol and express image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love in return” (Pope Leo XIII). Recommitting our work of prayer in this month of special meaning and special graces fortifies our mission. As we take hold of the truth of the immense individual love that the Sacred Heart of Jesus bears for us and rightly remain open to learn and pray forth the immense individual love Jesus bears for the priest/bishop for whom one prays… we can do nothing short of persevering in prayer – and rejoicing. “Love overcomes, love delights, those who love the Sacred Heart rejoice” (St Bernadette Soubirous). It (super)naturally flows that we beseech sanctity and nothing less for the recipient of our prayers.“I must become a great saint – my Jesus wants it” (St Bernadette Soubirous).
As the Apostolate grows in height (number) and width (globally), there presents a call for a challenge to growth in depth. Many Seven Sisters have given testimony to that very thing: to the joy of increased focus and discernment in prayer, and greater liberty and peace in relying on the Holy Spirit for development in prayer during the Hour. Others share they are motivated to additionally offer sacrifices for the priest during the day they are committed to the Holy Hour. All these movements seem the marvelous fruit of obedience and fidelity to these prayer endeavors.
Through Valerie G, a Seven Sister in North Carolina (Charlotte diocese), I learned of an initiative that grew out of an observance of the positive influence of a Seven Sisters group (initiated 10/2018). Men in the parish were inspired to join in the prayer efforts in their own way. What bloomed forth was a desire within each of these men (seven in total, of course!) to fast on distinct days of the week, every week, specifically for the pastor whom the Seven Sisters were offering Holy Hours. Each man fasts to different degrees, “Holy Spirit driven”. They call themselves theFasting Brothers. Their work is quiet and supportive and welcomed by both the pastor and the Seven Sisters group. So, we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer (Ezra 8:23). I wholeheartedly encourage you to be open to this type of prayer enhancement to your Seven Sister group in this coming year. Gratitude to the North Carolinians for this generous example and their unreserved encouragement to us: to support “all priests” in this way.
In closing: a prayer of consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in this month of June. “Let the soul who is desirous of advancing in perfection hasten to my Sacred Heart” (Jesus to St Gertrude).
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to Thee I consecrate and offer up my person and my life, my actions, trials, and sufferings, that my entire being may henceforth only be employed in loving, honoring and glorifying Thee. This is my irrevocable will, to belong entirely to Thee, and to do all for Thy love, renouncing with my whole heart all that can displease Thee.
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.... that ‘one Ave Maria that 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 generous support always arrive to my heart door at the right moment! Your letters of testimony are so beautiful and edifying! Don't stop writing to me. Eternal gratitude is mine for YOU! Be assured of my continued daily prayers for you at the altar.