Sunday, September 28, 2014
Thank you so much for joining us for this 9 days of Prayer and Fasting. It was so beautiful to see as the days went on more and more people joined from all over the world. Being able to support the International Week of Prayer and Fasting that Pope John Paul II helped to begin over 20 years ago is truly important. In addition to praying for the three intentions of the International week of prayer and fasting, conversion of nations, protection of life and for peace, we also included the intention:
May Our Lady's plans for you, your family, the Children's Rosary and how the Children's Rosary affects the world be realized.
I want to share with you some of the wonderful gifts that we were given this week. We received news that a new Children’s Rosary group would be forming in Shrub Oaks NY at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. They have chosen October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, to Consecrate their new group to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary. We also heard from another another group that they will hold their first meeting on the Feast of the Holy Rosary October 7th at the Parish of St. Anthony in Taylor Mill, KY. A priest directing the Pontifical Missions in New Zealand also contacted us this week and will be helping to spread our prayer group movement in schools throughout New Zealand during the month of October.
We also received word that a group that had faced an obstacle for a time in meeting would be meeting again starting in October. Indeed help was coming for existing groups as well as granting us new ones.
Indeed there were beautiful gifts given which were clearly evident but we know that many of the graces poured down through prayer and sacrifice are hidden to us while we are here on earth. In our own lives, we may see struggles and suffering mounting on us and our family and wonder why such things may be happening when we are trying to help Our Lord. Recently one of the Children’s Rosary group leaders shared a story of a Holocaust survivor she heard speak. The women was in a Nazi concentration camp with her sister. The women of their barrack would try to hide bits of the Bible and read them together. They would routinely come together in prayer and say what they were thankful for each day. The barracks where they lived was infested with fleas and one day her sister thanked God for the fleas. As this was causing considerable suffering for them, the speaker shared that she became angry with her sister for thanking God for such an affliction. She could not understand why one would thank God for fleas. The speaker shared that sadly her sister did not survive the camps. She also shared that at one speaking engagement after the war a man approached her and said he had been a guard in the camp she was imprisoned in. He extended his hand to shake hers. It was difficult for her to be able to extend her hand back but she felt God calling her to forgiveness. She shook his hand and he then said, you know your sister was right to thank God for the fleas. He went on to share that the Nazi guards routinely would rape the women in the camp but they were aware that her particular barrack was infested with fleas and would never go in there. The women were spared this terror.
After hearing this story I have thought of it often. More and more I began to see in my own suffering such as my joint deterioration and joint instability as a blessing. I remember when I was able to drive that routinely I became angry and frustrated with drivers. I knew this was one of my weaknesses. After 5 years of not driving because of weakness in my hands, I have found myself becoming a very timid passenger. Rather than aggression I am more aware of others zipping around and my hope is to just get to the destination safely. Surprisingly I have forgotten the feeling of what it is like behind the wheel and my husband often gets annoyed with me that I am always worried we won’t stop in time. There are many areas of my life that are simplified now and such an illness played a critical role in clarifying what is important. I wonder for those of you reading this note what your fleas are in your life. Are there places in our lives that are painful but may be there to protect us from something far more dangerous.
Our Lord calls us to empty ourselves as He did for us. For although He humbled himself, God exalted Him and “bestowed on him the name which is above every name that at the name of Jesus every kneel should bow.” (Philippians 2:9-10)
As we finish this 9 days of prayer and fasting there is a feeling that we should begin tomorrow (September 29th) a 9 day novena of thanksgiving ending on the Feast of the Holy Rosary.
For although we may be blinded to what has been given to us we know Our Lord is never outdone in generosity. These nine days will take us from the Feast of the Archangels through a week where we remember wonderful Saints such as St. Therese the Little Flower, St. Faustina, St. Francis and bring us to the glorious conclusion on the Feast of the Holy Rosary.
To join us in the 9 day Novena click HERE.