Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ! In poetic cadence, it is said, “In November we remember.” On a natural level, in this month most reminisce on the all-too-fleeting summer days and swiftly vanishing year. Catholics intentionally remember to visit cemeteries in November, and offer prayers for those who have passed. The liturgical year concludes with both the solemn consideration of the Last Things and the climactic celebration to remind that Christ is King (this year, Nov 22).
Times of recollection often lend themselves to interior reflection. Where have I been, where am I going? Are my days generally fully embraced or squandered? Do complexities stifle the joy of the journey? Our Seven Sister ways are likewise worthy of periodic review. Do I keep my commitment to pray? Stay true to the mission? Has its simplicity become unduly knotty?
At the heart of the Apostolate we each respond simply and surely to the Lord’s invitation to His work, “So, could you not watch with me for one hour?” (Matt 26:40). The offering is eternal, for it is a labor of love. Quite literally, it is the gift that keeps on giving (I Cor 13). Both intercessor and recipient benefit. St Teresa of Calcutta reminds: “Each of us has a mission to fulfill: a mission of love. At the hour of death, when we come face-to-face with God, we are going to be judged on love; not on how much we have done, but on how much love we have put into our actions.” Bl Charles de Foucauld reminds, “The best prayer is the one in which there is the most love.”
A Seven Sister is faithful to the mission of the Apostolate by: (a) keeping the commitment to a Holy Hour on her designated day of the week (or securing a sub); (b) praying for the well-being and sanctity of the one priest/bishop for whom she offers the Hour; and (c) sometime during the Hour praying for a deepening devotion to Mary for the priest/bishop. A beautiful simplicity continues to define our work. This strength hearkens to the words of Fr Joseph Johnson, Apostolate founder, in the early hour of learning about the inspiration: “I believe it is from the Holy Spirit because it is so simple.”
The Holy Hour is unique to each Seven Sister. She chooses the Hour within her committed day and also the flow of prayer within that Hour. Thus, the collective prayer offering of the group is likewise unique – tailor-made for the priest/bishop each day, each week! The Seven Sister, recurrently enters a sort of school of intercession in these Hours, gradually learning and living a docility of heart that heightens her keenness to the impulses of the Holy Spirit. Guide me, O Holy Spirit, in my prayer today. Help me to be a conduit of Your Love. Our simple assent to the Holy Hour brings us into audience with the Triune God, who is all Wisdom and all Love. The patrons of the Apostolate and the countless, exquisite angels encompassing the Blessed Sacrament enhance the sanctity of the setting. What at first glance appears a mere calendar point and duty of our day as a Seven Sister, when lived, can be perceived and experienced beyond the thin veil. Truly time collapses in the presence of God. Heaven settles upon earth. What could not be wrought here?
Our Lord over and again presents an offer – simple yet beyond full understanding: strike the rock, rise and pick up your mat, love thy neighbor as thyself, put out into the deep, take and eat. Every offer beckons our participation coupled with His. Our offer is straightforward and simple: One holy hour, one priest, each week, one heart of prayer. The invitation is not for one holy Mass nor for multiple priests nor for every day nor solo, without others. His Ways are higher, His thoughts complete. Untold goodness arises from this untroubled heaven-sent blueprint.
We do best to stay as close to the inspiration of the Apostolate as possible. Your witness to do so is heartening! It is wildly fruitful! You remain like-hearted to a mentor, St Teresa of Calcutta, who shares her secret of trust: “My secret is simple. I pray.” Oh, how it confirms what looms large in our hearts: that in quietness and trust is your strength (Isaiah 30:15).
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…. “One Ave Maria 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 phone calls and generous support always arrive to my heart door at the right moment! Your financial sacrifices are for 100% furtherance of Apostolate. THANK YOU! The letters of testimony are so beautiful and edifying! What glory is given to God through your writing! Eternal gratitude is mine for YOU! Be assured of my continued daily prayers for you at the altar.
Let us TOGETHER continue to prepare a Birthday gift for Our Lord: 2020 active groups by 12/25/20 Prayer will make things clear as to who, when, where and how to encourage new groups!