Friday, September 24, 2010

For Everything There Is A Season

The first reading for Mass today is from Ecclesiastes 3:
There is an appointed time for everything
and a time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant...
This reading always reminds me of the '60s song by The Byrds and I end up with "turn, turn, turn, turn..." running through my head. Today, however, it stood out in a different way for me. 
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
And a time to tear down and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance...
I am going through a difficult time right now, and in the midst of pain it is hard to believe that things will ever be alright again. I received a gentle reminder that this too shall pass.  Time is a sacred gift from God, times of pain and times of joy. As Psalm 126 puts it, "Those who sow in tears will reap with joy." This is seed time, but the harvest time is sure to follow. We are an Easter people, and Alleluia! is our song.
God has made everything appropriate to its time and has put the timeless into their hearts, without men's ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Prayer, by Fr. Jack Farley, SVD

The only way to pray is to pray; and the way to pray well is to pray much. If one has no time for this, then one must at least pray regularly. But the less one prays, the worse it goes. (Dom John Chapman)
 Prayer is prayer, no matter how limited in scope. It is a wedge that will, in time, open our heart wider to the divine reality. Its narrow edge allows it to penetrate more easily.
Because our behavior spills over to our attitude towards God, prayer is subjected to the ramifications of bad habits in our daily life. I am not suggesting that prayer will be impossible until all our current sins cease. On the contrary, prayer cohabits quite happily with sin. What prayer cannot abide, however, is failure to recognize sin. Efforts to rationalize our behavior effectively prevents prayer. Sin admitted and confessed renews our sense of dependence on God and fuels our prayer.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Our Sorrowful Mother

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
She beheld her tender Child,
   All with bloody scourges rent.

For the sins of his own nation
Saw him hang in desolation
   Till his spirit forth he sent.

O sweet Mother! font of love,
Touch my spirit from above,
   Make my heart with yours accord.

Make me feel as you have felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
   With the love of Christ my Lord.

Holy Mother, pierce me through,
In my heart each wound renew
  Of my Savior crucified.

Let me share with you his pain,
Who for all our sins was slain,
   Who for me in torments died.

(from the Stabat Mater)

There is no easy answer for the problem of suffering in the world, especially for the suffering of innocent children. Any attempt to explain it just falls flat and sounds hollow when you, or someone you love, is in the midst of pain.  Preachers of the popular "Prosperity Gospel" would like to do away with the mystery of the Cross altogether. Yet trying to remove pain from our lives doesn't  work either. Yesterday's feast, the Exultation of the Cross, and today's memorial, Our Lady of Sorrows, do add some depth to the mystery of suffering.
God Himself, living in perfect beatitude and incapable of suffering, freely chose to take on our human condition and became one of us.  In his great love for us, he embraced a life of suffering and pain, a death of agony on the cross, in order to set us free.
Our Blessed Mother at the foot of the cross watched her baby boy hanging there, struggling for each breath. She shared in his sufferings, and the sword that pierced the dead body of her Son also rent her soul in two.
Jesus and his sinless Mother experienced the depths of every pain imaginable. Suffering is still incomprehensible, but when we unite our pain to theirs in an offering to the Father, it becomes salvific. May we be united with Christ in his suffering and death and so come to share in his rising to new life.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Prayer Requests

Yesterday, Sept. 9, we received the 2000th prayer request from our web site.  Since our web site is not yet six months old, that averages to about a dozen prayer requests each day!  Some are filled with great joy, such as weddings, births, or successful resolutions to conflicts.  Others contain deep pain in the death of a loved one, battles with terminal illness, or families shattered by addiction or abuse.  Still others are simply prayer requests for events in every-day life, like safety during travel, searches for new jobs, and prayers for children, spouses, or parents.
As the Sisters kneel in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, we pray for these and all the intentions entrusted to us.  We consider our whole lives, lived in fidelity to our vocation, to be an act of intercession for the needs of the world.  We are grateful to be a part of the lives of so many; all these people become a part of our extended family.  As we pray for the needs of all, our hearts expand to cover each member of the human race with a blessing.  God is so great to allow us to participate in his saving plan for all of humanity.
We would like to invite you to join us in this act of mercy; each time you pray, include an intention for the needs of others as known to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  When we join in prayer, bringing to God our own needs and the needs of family, friends, and complete strangers, we become part of a larger community and help to hasten the arrival of the Kingdom of God on Earth.