In Fr. Ron's blog of 5/20 he mentions St. Francis of Assisi. Francis was called by God to literally shore up a church that was in danger of toppling over. He was called the little beggar of Assisi, because he trusted God for everything, including his daily bread. Further, he encouraged his followers to do penance and to take up their crosses as Christ did. There is not much talk these days of suffering, of any kind. In fact, we try to protect ourselves from suffering in any way at all. When the United States entered World War II, it wasn't long before there were shortages of many things, things we did without, due to the needs of the war effort.This suffering paid off. The enemy was eventually defeated!
Today our enemy is the Culture of Death which promotes Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, and Abortion. St. John Paul II said, "We are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life: the "culture of death" and the "culture of life" We find ourselves in the midst of this conflict with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life.
In order to defeat this enemy we will definitely need to become a people of prayer and penance. That is what intercessors are - St John Paul II said, "The imitation of Jesus, the suffering Servant has led great saints and simple believers to turn their illnesses and pain into a source of purification and salvation for themselves and for others." St. Paul even rejoices that by suffering he can make up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. "Even now, I find my joy in the sufferings I endure for you. In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His body, the Church, (Col 1:24) Fr. Sam Tiesi, TOR explains it this way: "the only thing lacking in Christ's suffering is our participation in it." (from his book, Redemptive Suffering)
In founding Loreto on the Plains Personal Care Home, we understood that faith and prayer were two essential things. Our motto became: "where prayer makes the difference, giving hope where there is no hope." We found that by offering up our prayers, joys, works, and sufferings to Jesus we experienced grace beyond measure in a labor of love for the sick and terminally ill in our care.
Another of our Saint heroes is St. Faustina. She shares in her diary how important the Chaplet of Divine Mercy is when praying for the dying: She recounts the words of Jesus, "At the hour of death, I defend every soul that will say this chaplet, or when others say it by a dying person; the indulgence is the same. When this chaplet is said by the bedside of a dying person, God's anger is placated, unfathomable mercy envelopes the soul, and the very depths of My tender mercy are moved for the sake of My sorrowful Passion.(Diary #811) In another part of her diary she relates about a terrible storm which is raging overhead and in her fear she calls out to God, and Jesus said,"Say the chaplet which I have taught you and the storm will cease." Before she finished praying the chaplet, the storm ceased. (Diary # 1731)
By praying the chaplet we have witnessed the power of this type of intercession, whether at the bedside of a dying person, or even at a distance. This Intercessory prayer power is so important as we struggle against the culture of death, We can all be encouraged as we learn to fast and to pray in imitation of the saints. (see hebrews 12:1) Therefore since we are surrounded by such a grest cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burdon and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.
God bless all who read this blog,
Ed Weber, sfo