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Friday, November 25, 2016

Msgr. Marv Mottet, Presente! 100th Anniv. of Fatima and 50th of Catholic Charismatic Renewal, 2017! Come Holy Spirit!!

Lamb Catholic Worker Winter Newsletter 2016-17
2017:  100th Anniversary of Fatima Intertwined with the 50th Anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal

Dear Holy Father Pope Francis,  

      If you go on a trip to Russia again, please consider consecrating in a special, exclusive way, the country of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary [as personal consecrations are done to become a religious, etc]. This was asked at Fatima by Mary, as you know.  Saint John Paul II went beyond this and consecrated the whole world to her twice; and it was acknowledged as done right by Lucia who witnessed what Mary had asked at Fatima. Many here though are using this against you, and my desire is to steal their bullets.  On the 100th anniversary of Fatima perhaps, this can be a gift to and for Russia. Please do this, dear Papa.   
                               In Christ,  

     A friend and I were meditating on the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary after mass on Wednesday and in introducing the "Coronation of Mary Queen of Heaven and Earth" she said something like: “Our Mother has been three times coronated in Heaven: Queen daughter of the Father, Queen Mother of Jesus Christ, our Savior, and Queen Spouse of the Holy Spirit.”  Beautiful.  We Catholics do not worship Mary, we honor her.  The question is this:  Do you believe Jesus wants you to honor His mother?
     In Christian Prayer Liturgy of the Hours, pg. 1386, the petition describes her well: "you are our redeemer, who made the immaculate Virgin Mary your purest home and the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, -- make us temples of your Spirit for ever."  
     Here are more poetic descriptors in the song, "Mary the Dawn," number 165, p. 1687:
     Verses 3, 5 and 6: "Mary the wheat, Christ the Living Bread; Mary the stem, Christ the Rose, bloodred.... Mary the Temple, Christ the Temple's Lord; Mary the cup, Christ the saving blood... Mary the Beacon, Christ the Haven's rest; Mary the mirror, Christ the Vision blest."

      There seems to be a unique relationship Mary has always had with the Holy Spirit and this seems manifested in the fact that when the 50th anniversary of Fatima rolled around, the Holy Spirit chose to swoop down in a mighty, mighty way in the Catholic Church (and others). The Catholic Church has always been a font of the Holy Spirit, no doubt, but this began a movement to be FILLED with the Holy Spirit as at the first Pentecost, and to create small prayer groups, intentional communities, to help sustain us in our brief sojourn here on Earth. At their best, they are small communities of great love, support, encouragement, inspiration, accountability, and challenge, with profound humility and joy.   This newsletter is a commercial for finding a good charismatic prayer group, being part of a loving community of fellow Christians.  A friend said to me that she tried the charismatic stuff and did not like it.  When I explained my experience with it for approximately 43 years - my best experiences having come from the West and Central sides of Columbus, Ohio in the first 25 years - she said, "I WOULD LOVE THAT."

Prayer Meetings of
 Our Roots

(Roots of the Charismatic Renewal for parish prayer groups) 
                                                                 Approx. Times

                                             (Some nights the Holy Spirit
                                                                  wants more in one area)

1.   Praise and Singing      20 min.

2.   Silence                  7-8  min.
      A teaching can be inserted for 2 and 3
3.   Group Sharing        13-15 min.

4.   Praise Mode          10-15 min.

5.   Prayer for Self/Others           10-15 min.

 Final Song and A Few Shared 
 Miracles/prayers Announc.       5-10  min.

Fellowship after           15-20 min.

What each looks like:

1.                Leadership
         This could be one or two people, and in a spirit of the genuine humility that Christ speaks of about a true leader (“servant of all”).  The idea is to call down the Holy Spirit nearly constantly upon others – for sharing, revelation, inspiration, love, peace – in addition to praising and listening to God.  The leader rarely speaks, nor any other one person repeatedly.
          To maintain this spirit of humility, there is a round-robin style of leadership where there are about 4 leaders (or sets of leaders) who take turns leading, a different one each week for about four weeks.  How humbling for them and beautiful for the group to be served in this manner! 
2.                Praise, Singing, and Music Ministry:  
       There may be one or two pre-planned songs, but then the Holy Spirit inspires all of the others, through any person, as to what He wants sung at this and that time for the singing, or murmuring of tongues, etc.  Each person present can be utilized by the Holy Spirit to name a song He wants sung during those designated times at the beginning and in the sustained praise time (mainly).  After the sharing time, the songs continue to be sprung from the witnesses, testimonies, and types of miracles or lessons that took place and were expressed from that week.  If the music ministry cannot play it, we just sing it.  Very beautiful, and led by the Holy Spirit in great trust. 
       All the singing has space between songs for the Holy Spirit to speak to us, mainly absolute silence.  The silent times are powerful times!!  It requires much patience and restraint of the leadership and on music ministry people. 
      New songs are welcome, if they copy music for people to see.  The music is always fresh and alive, sprung from the Holy Spirit and from lessons and inspirations of the Holy Spirit for that particular week's theme that is revealed at the prayer group through the sharing.
3.                Sharing Time is Brief:  During #3. Sharing, each person keeps their sharing to two or three minutes and only a few share each week (5 or 6).  If someone quotes a Scripture during another part, and someone has a confirmation of that (exact same scripture or theme that week), they can confirm that on the spot (pretty exciting when this happens like popcorn!).  This lends to much greater praise and worship!
4.                 What it looks like:
    The leader of that night will open with a short prayer of the Holy Spirit, something like “We come before you God with our hearts open to praise you, learn from you and bring each other to greater holiness of life.  We lay our burdens at the foot of Your Cross” - wait a little – “and give them completely over to you.”
                      It is easier to begin to praise when we are unburdened when our
               thoughts are unburdened.  
                       The leader then does not speak much only gently steers toward the
              next component of a balanced prayer meeting/group if necessary.  “How
              has the Lord been moving in your lives this week?” “Now let’s have some
              silent time to listen to the Holy Spirit.”  Most of these do not even need to
              be said eventually.  People get used to the flow of all components of a
              balanced prayer group.  There’s a feel and a flow that is natural and
              balanced.  Too many songs, verbally expressed prayers or comments, or too 
              much talking can kill community.  The leader prays constantly for  
              discernment as to when to step in or hold back.
                       Totally quiet and silent times are welcome and not a sign of failure or
             dead air!  Those are the most powerful times of the Holy Spirit speaking
              back to us stirring us to the soul!
                       In the ALPHA training they emphasized this point true in old-time
             charismatic prayer meetings:  that when praying with someone, [and
             leading a charismatic group] you don’t keep repeatedly talking and talking,
             no matter how  strongly you want to:  “If you find your mind saying, ‘and I
             just feel that the Lord wants,… and just… and I just… and just… [because
             you think you’re feeling it so strongly] there’s something wrong.”  You are
            doing too much and the Holy Spirit is not allowed to do it Himself within                       people's souls.  Let go and let God.
                        Rarely there is a short prayer over everyone, inspired by the Holy
              Spirit, for anyone to pray out loud over the people.   All are welcome
              provided it is not coming too often from one person, even the leader.
           A Scripture is welcome at any point even during the singing time.
            The gift of tongues is welcome at any point (aside from a microphone).  Scripture speaks of “different kinds of tongues” so some may be the joyful shout as done sporadically in the history of the Israelites but more often it is at the speaking level sometimes the soft level, words and phrases that are not English, repeated ones like melodious soft singing and murmuring in tongues, (Fr. Cantalamessa, four popes’ priest, his favorite too!) lauds etc. this sung at varying levels – whatever the Holy Spirit decides to stir in His sweeps.  It is more a receptical experience of the Holy Spirit within coming out through us and not us doing it consciously (speaking or singing).  It is a beautiful experience to be caught up and enveloped in the Spirit, with soft, lovely murmurings and singing to Him.
           We never had a microphone, even with 60-70 people.  We sat in extremely close proximity and could hear the faintest murmuring of tongues, etc. 
      4.  Praying Over, Praying With, and Praying For:
I.                    Praying Over:  This is the laying on of hands (usually over a head), with full and partial healings, conversions, life-changes, and other major happenings in a person's life (in other words, not often).  A person may fall backwards because the rush of the Holy Spirit is so intense.  The person or prayer team for this prayer has a special and rarer gift (of calling down the Holy Spirit in mighty stirrings down upon people, sort of like the first Pentecost).
II.                  Praying With: This is a more often/common form of praying at prayer meetings and is done in threesome – everyone has this gift – and you get to talk a little longer for explanation (2 min.) about the problem or person needing prayers.  The other two lay a hand(s) on you somewhere and pray with you.  Sometimes a vision or word of insight, etc. comes to any three.  Then they rotate if prayer is needed, to another in the group.  The whole thing is fairly short and takes place as another option during the praying over people time.  Mighty things happen here too!
III.                Praying For: This is done at the very end, in a large circle, for a couple of bigger things such as the nation, etc. It can also be a mini-thanksgiving for this or that resolved problem, miracle, etc., that was not conveyed during the sharing time.
    5.  Final Song and Fellowship After:  We come together in a circle and do a few wider prayers (and a couple of thanksgivings), sometimes hand-in-hand and sometimes arm-in-arm.  We then sing a final song.  The fellowship after is crucial, as mentioned in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Office pamphlet.  All hands on deck for this critical fellowship for each and every member. This is the opportunity to bond a community in love, which is God.  A special outpouring is toward newcomers, with time spent talking with them. Members also know that this is available when they had been wanting to talk too long perhaps during the prayer meeting – knowing that all members will gladly take part.

    Below is an official Catholic Charismatic Renewal Office pamphlet, very wise and consistent to what I have experienced, mailed to me about four years ago by Jackie Temple, former director. I cannot scan it in, and so, I will retype it line by line.

A "PRAYER MEETING" is a weekly gathering of Christians to give honor, praise, thanks and love to Jesus Christ as Our Lord and Savior.  It is a time we gather in community to praise God on a one-to-one basis.  A "Prayer Meeting" is not a discussion club, a therapy session or a time for counseling, but a time to give our full attention to Jesus through the help of the Holy Spirit (who will teach us all truth).
A Prayer Meeting has 2 purposes
     1.  To praise, worship and honor God
     2.  To build up the Body of Christ (as brothers and sisters)

What is the Content of a "Prayer Meeting"?
Opening prayer, praise and worship; prophecy (God speaks to us through one of His children); tongues, interpretation of tongues; scripture reading; teachings; testimony and sharing.

How long do the "Prayer Meetings" last?
Usually about 1  1/2 hours (counting fellowship after). Matt 26:40, "How is it that you were not able to watch with me for one hour?"

Do I have to raise my hands and pray like others do?
NO!  You should pray in the way in which you feel comfortable, as if you were alone communicating with Jesus.  Pray as you feel comfortable, but respect others' way of prayer and praise.

Is a prayer group a parish organization?
Yes, a prayer group is made up of individuals who come together weekly as a family for the purpose of giving Jesus the praise He deserves.  The first and primary purpose of all prayer is to praise and honor God, who created us and gives us all the gifts and blessings we enjoy each day.  The prayer group is under the authority of the parish pastor and should keep him informed periodically.

What are the spiritual gifts we pray for?
See 1 Cor. 12-14.  Word of Wisdom; Word of Knowledge; Faith; Gifts of Healing; Miracles and Interpretation of tongues; Prophecy (2 Peter 1:20-21); Discernment of Spirits and tongues (Acts 5:12-16).

Is the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" a new sacrament?
No.  It is not a Sacrament, it is merely a RELEASE of the POWER of the Holy Spirit already received in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation helping us to know Jesus, the Bible, our daily prayer life, our faith, etc. in a deeper way.

Do we have to speak at a prayer meeting?
NO -- the ones that speak, prophecy or read are usually moved to do so by the Holy Spirit (John 14:26, "The Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you."

What is a testimony?
Telling how the Lord is working in your life.  One's testimony should be short and to the point. [This gives great glory to Jesus and to the Holy Spirit]

How can I grow spiritually?
Attend the "Prayer Meeting" each week.  Have a regular prayer time each day (taking time to listen) 10 minutes to an hour and talk to the Lord throughout the day.  Read the Bible at least 15 minutes per day.  Short courses will be offered; "Life in the Spirit Seminars and Growth Seminars, etc."

Who can give a teaching at a meeting?
A teaching is reserved to one who has cleared it through the leadership or core group.  This is to insure proper teaching.

Is a prayer meeting based on scripture?
Ephesians 5:18-19.  "...be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with you heart to the Lord."  Yes, Jesus said, "Where two or more are gathered in My Name, there I am in their midst." (Matt. 18:19-20); 1 Cor 14:26; Acts 2:42; Revelations 3:20-21; Revelations 22:17.  Covenant Community (one step further) Acts 2:46.

Why do we sing?
(Colossians 3:16)  Singing is a way of praying, praising, and worshipping God.  St. Augustine said, "he who sings prays twice."  It should not turn into a songfest.  We should PAUSE between songs, readings, prophecy, etc., and LISTEN.  This is the time the Holy Spirit can speak to us.  We need silence to reflect and allow the Spirit to work.

Why do some greet others with a hug?
This is just a sign of brotherhood.  See 1 Cor. 16:20; 1 Cor. 13:12; 1 Thes. 5:6 and 1 Peter 5:14.

Where can I read about the Holy Spirit in Scripture?
John 14:16; John 15:26; John 16: 7-14, Acts: 1,2,4, 8, Acts 2:3, 17; Acts 10:44-48; Acts 19:5-6; Romans 5:3-5, Romans 8: 1-17; 26-27; 1 Cor. 2:6-16, 3:16, Gal. 5:16-26 and many more.

Is Satan real?
See Ephesians 6:10=18, 1 Peter 5:8 Matt. 4: 1-11, Matt.10:1-8, Matt. 13:36; Mark 1-4.

What is the importance of prayer and fasting?
See Matt. 17:20-21; Matt. 21:22; Mark 11:22-26; Mark 14:37-38; Luke 6:12; Luke 11:1-11; John 8 42-47; Luke 4: 1-2, Luke 6: 12-16; John 11: 41-42; Matt. 26:36-46; Acts 2:42.

What should I keep in mind as I attend a prayer meeting?

  • Come at least 4 or 5 times before making a decision.  It takes that long to understand how the Holy Spirit is working.
  • Pray as you feel comfortable and let others do the same.
  • Praying alone we are easily distracted.  We support each other at a Prayer Meeting.
  • Pause between songs, reading and teaching to allow the Spirit to work.
  • Don't concentrate on others, concentrate on Jesus and YOU.
  • All ages are welcome, we are all children of God.
  • Prepare for the meetings through prayer and sacrifice.
  • Don't be afraid; you are with friends.  Don't let the devil, the evil one, discourage you.
  • You will experience the "fruits of the Spirit" as you progress. (Gal. 5:22 and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit 1 Cor. 12).
  • If you do not have an opportunity to speak or share at meetings, you may do so after the meeting with others during the time of fellowship. (There may be one before in some groups).
  • If you have questions, please don't leave until you get an answer.  We love you and together we love God and HELP EACH OTHER AS BROTHERS AND SISTERS.

Catholic Charismatic Renewal, Inc., 4207 East Broad St., Ste. C, Columbus, Ohio 43213-1200 Jackie Temple [note: the new director is Linda Pelino at a different address, this is four years old).

     Msgr. Marv Mottet was basically a lifetime soliticitous charismatic (and most certainly now in heaven!), a mountain rooted in social justice for the poor (helped begin Legal Aid, the Campaign for Human Development, Cafe on the Vine, and many other endeavors for the poorest), and a true "son" of Mary in his devotion to her, from French farming roots in Iowa.  
      He passed along to the next life on September 16 at 86 years old, a very huge loss to myself, as he was my mentor, number one cheerleader, and dear friend. While it may seem unusual to put him at this spot of the article rather than at the beginning, this is the way he would have it.  
     This is his level of humility and "decreasing" as Christ (and the Holy Spirit) increases. This would be his way of putting the Will of the Father before all else, even himself.  He, as well as the Holy Spirit, would want more charismatic prayer groups; and so, with these tips at the hands of those who the Spirit moves to start one, there's no telling what 2017 will be like in Columbus!
      On the brink of the Catholic "new year" - Advent - when we do focus on Mary's part in the salvation of the world, Msgr. Mottet taught me often to stop and "ponder things" in my heart, as Mary did in Scripture, as well as to talk with her in prayer.  
        In his early thirties as a priest, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney cancer that had metastacized to many places.  He had been prayed over for a healing by charismatics and was healed on the spot. He even had to undergo an extensive exploratory surgery to prove the healing because the doctors could not believe it. Yes, miraculous unquestionable healings do still occur, as it did in the time of Christ.
      Outside of Columbus, Ohio in Sunbury there was a first ever "Encounter" in June with Fr. Matthias Thelen who also has the gift of healing.  Fourteen hundred people came (including myself) to St. John Newman Catholic Church and over 300 were healed that night - and interviewed on camera - not counting the cancer people who would find out later.  There will be another "Encounter" within a conference of many wonderful speakers and musicians (Mary Healy) in Sunbury, Ohio on Dec. 9th and 10th  (go to "Encountercolumbus.org.").  Beautiful how the Holy Spirit is moving to create something all new through these young organizers!  Come Holy Spirit, come.

      There is an entire article on Msgr. Marv Mottet's life legacy in this website (just google The Lamb Catholic Worker Msgr. Mottet), but if he could tell you anything right now, I believe he would say to deepen your relationship with Jesus in whatever manner possible.  He would suggest going to daily mass, meditating on the Scripture mysteries of the Rosary, praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, studying scriptures (Christ, the Word made flesh), talking to God in prayer and about Him with others, etc, and especially through finding and committing to a loving, humble, holy  charismatic group.
    Further teaching on the Holy Spirit from a Catholic perspective by the Franciscans of the Renewal in Steubenville, can be found at  http://thewildgooseisloose.com/series-segments/.  
     Also, a multi-denominational resource that's section on the Holy Spirit is powerful is the ALPHA series (updated often!) with  outstanding quotes and teachings from many different Christian religions, including many interviews with Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the Pope's priest, having preached to four popes and their households.  Very holy, holy, gentle, humble man who is also a charismatic! Woo Hoo!  His favorite aspect is soft, melodious, spontaneous singing in tongues stirred to the core by the Holy Spirit (which I gather would be best heard if there were no microphone systems and all sat in close proximity, like those prayer groups of old).  
       Pope Francis has had the experience of millions breaking into tongues at the conscecration of a mass of many many charismatics - powerful!!  Come Holy Spirit.
       I would add that another preparation before attending charismatic prayer groups ("prayer meetings") is to collect and create a little prayer team of your own - in heaven - to intercede for you and to call down the Holy Spirit for you to go through you, as you are about to undergo sustained prayer.  At the top of my list are God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Mary, St. Joseph, Mom, Tina, grandparents, and many former charismatics (and other relatives, saints and marytrs) who have gone on before me.

    Well, there is no news in regards to beginning this Catholic Worker.  I (Monica) still work at "the roughest school in the district," in a neighborhood of drugs, prostitution, and gangs.  This is a great joy!  I do other things but desire strongly to live as one with the poor in the manner God has for me.  I am waiting for "workers in the field."
    Also, I have become a Benedictine Oblate on Oct. 27 with the following Promises and Duties:
Stability of Heart
Fidelity to the Spirit of Monastic Life
Obedience to the Will of God
Liturgy of the Hours
Rule of St. Benedict
Lectio Divina (of Sacred Scripture, reading 3X slowly)
Sacraments (Church)
Presence of God [this is their motto for 100% of the day]

    The day after the feast of St. Francis of Assissi I gave up my cell phone (I still have a land line), having gone four years without my own computer, and six months without a car. I hesitated strongly to say these because I am not bragging.  I only tried in small ways to respond to Pope Francis' call this year to "become more poor like Christ the poor teacher." These are huge challenges for me, and are not for everyone!
        I also felt called, around the feast of St. Clare (August) to take on a minor head-covering when the blessed sacrament is exposed (mass, Eucharistic Adoration).  My Benedictine Oblate names are Dorothy ClareIt is just a scarf or band around my hair at one narrow point - more symbolic than anything of my love and reverence for our Sweet Lord and when He is physically present in the Church, His own flesh and blood, in the consecrated Eucharist.  I chose Clare for my middle name because of the strong draw to the contemplative life - a inner wrestling match that St. Francis of Assissi and Dorothy Day struggled with their whole lives. 
        Finally I have felt drawn to wear only medium or long skirts in public, to fully embrace and express the joy of my femininity in a modest manner, I guess, although I certainly do not think other women are less feminine who wear pants, etc.  It just feels very right and natural for me alone.
     St. Francis of Assissi said, "Sanctify yourself and you sanctify society."  What he did not say is that when you mention the words sanctity or reform you may bring upon yourself all the fires of hell, as he and many others suffered through - St. John of the Cross (beaten for 9 months in a "dungeon" by his own monks), St. Padre Pio (denounced many times even with  the stigmata), St. Francis of Assissi (they tried to kick him out of his own order, with the stigmata), and my beloved St. Benedict (his monks tried to poison him, etc). The Catholic Worker and Charismatic Renewal movements - my two passions - have had their woes and need of reform here and there, and this takes a strong backbone that I needed to gain. 
     Jackie Temple knew on leaving as the head post of the charismatic office that there needs to be more reaching out toward the poor as well, not focused inward to the groups themselves but to the most vulnerable in our society (as she expressed a year ago at the citywide gathering at Christ the King).  
      Songs for the poor are important then too, such as what Brendan O'Rourke sang at St. Catharine's last Eucharistic Adoration praise and worship: "Here I am Lord." ("I will tend the poor and lame; I will set a feast for them..."). It was such music to my ears! I was balling! Actions toward the poor though, attempts to lift them out of their poverty, are my future small hope among charismatics, in addition to an explosion of all kinds of corporal and spiritual works of mercy toward others. 
     That same night with Brendan I wanted to mention the stirring blending of the old and the new with one particular spirit-filled song.  When doing "Down in Adoration Falling, this great sacrament we hail,..." the song was blended with "a rousing, "JESUS LAMB OF GODDDD, SAVIOR OF THE WORRRRLD, LORD OF HEAVEN AND EARRRRTH...I BOWWWW TO YOUUUUU..."  Stirring.  
      Even just reaching out to strangers at prayer gatherings immediately after would be a great high priority of a loving charismatic community ("See how they love one another.").  Brace yourself for being "under attack" some, by the evil spirits in and out of others accusing you; and so, frequently pray the shorter part of the "Breastplate of St. Patrick: Christ before me, behind me, above me, below me, to the left, to the right, ..."
     But Christ said: "Blessed are you when they insult you, reject you, persecute you and denounce your name as evil all because of me.  Leap for joy on that day for your reward will be great in heaven; for their fathers persecuted the prophets in just the same way."       
     St. Peter said: "Happy are you when you are insulted for the sake of Christ, for then God's spirit in its glory has come to rest on you." (1 Peter 4:13-14).
     This has been a good test run for when Dorothy and Peter are really canonized!  Msgr. Mottet spent much of his last twenty years trying to get Peter Maurin canonized alongside Dorothy Day.  My own prayer is that they and Oscar Romero - three modern day champions of the poor - are canonized together!  Come, Holy Spirit, come.  They are already denounced by some, even Romero. I guess I needed this firey test beforehand to give me a backbone for their level of sanctity, reform, and holiness of life.  Come Holy Spirit!
      The parish of Christ the King did a pilgrimage to the Holy Door, walking about 7 miles (?).  Inside St. Joseph's Cathedral, Fr. Schalk prayed the following ancient prayer over us and with us.  This is my gift to you this Thanksgiving and coming Christmas season in thankfulness for your prayers.  It was such a favorite of St. Ignatius that many credited it to him, even though it was written before:

       Anima Christi

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds hide me.
Permit me not to be separated from you.
From the wicked foe, defend me.
At the hour of my death, call me
and bid me to come to You
That with your saints I may praise you
For ever and ever. Amen.

            Another gift to your: read an entire Gospel this Advent!  A priest gave this to me as a penance in confession recently, which I loved!  I have been trying to get this as a regular Catholic practice for years!!  Read one full Gospel during Advent and a different one during Lent to understand more the mind, personality, and Spirit of Christ - what He valued, what subjects are brought up the most (the poor, change, ... ) what and who He angered over, who and how He forgave,...  
       We Catholics especially get very confused with what Jesus really said, did, preached, and modeled.  It lends to not pegging Him in our own hole, or our country's human traditions or customs, in our own lenses that can be skewed by those around us -- but to only have eyes and ears for HIS VOICE ALONE, the voice of our Beloved,  by being immersed in it once or twice a year, and ponder Him closely, as Mary did.  "... till we become one in faith and in the knowledge of God's Son, and form that perfect man who is Christ come to full stature" (Eph. 4:12-13).  Like brothers St. Andrew and St. Peter, "both brothers' lives changed because they spent time with Jesus." (Word Among Us)

Litany of Humility from Immaculee Ilabageeza's  Retreat

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being loved                                     
                                               -- Deliver me Jesus

From the desire of being extolled ...

From the desire of being honored ...

From the desire of being praised ...

From the desire of being preferred to others ...

From the desire of being consulted ...

From the desire of being approved ...

From the fear of being humiliated ...

From the fear of being despised ...

From the fear of suffering rebukes ...

From the fear of being calumniated ...

From the fear of being forgotten ...

From the fear of being ridiculed ...

From the fear of being wronged ...

From the fear of being suspected ...

That others may be loved more than I     
                     -- Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I ...

That in the opinion of the world, others may ...

increase and I may decrease ...

That others may be chosen and I set aside ...

That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...

That others may be preferred to me in everything ...

That others may become holier than I provided ...

that I may become as holy as I should.   
       --Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it all.  Amen

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pacifist Scripture: Convicting and Compelling on the Feast of St. Benedict

Summer Newsletter 2016,  Lamb Catholic Worker 
                                                     By Monica,  The Lamb Catholic Worker, Columbus, Ohio

     In the Divine Office Liturgy of the Hours for today, on the feast of St. Benedict (Dorothy Day was a Benedictine Oblate) is the following prophecy from Isaiah - the build-up lends to its power and truth:

"In the days to come,
the mountain of the Lord's house
shall be the highest mountain
and raised above the hills.

All the nations shall stream toward it;
many peoples shall come and say:
'Come, let us climb the Lord's mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths.'

For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

He shall judge between the nations,
and impose terms on many peoples.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against 
nor shall they train for war again.

O house of Jacob come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord!"
                                  - Isaiah 2:2-5

 The link below is partly an interview with Tom Siemer (Monica's Father) promoting beating our drone "swords" into plowshares:         

       On this feast of my beloved St. Benedict, the "Father of Western Monasticism," there is so much to be appreciated in his message and way of life.  A key snippet on the walls of most Catholic Worker Houses is his concept of "Ora et Labora," the balance between work and prayer.

       In preaching at Christ the King this morning, Fr. Sylvester spoke of how St. Benedict wanted all to not only live this balanced life but to remove distractions of all kinds in order to do so.  We have to nurture our inward life, nurture the love we have for Jesus and our devotion to Him. In the Benedictine Oblate booklet mailed to me during Lent (in preparation for my oblation) entitled, "Clothed, in the New Self, Christ is All in All," Fr. Adrian Burke, OSB, also adds to be true to your true self in part, by stripping off the old self with its practices (becoming dead to sin), being "renewed in knowledge according to the image of the Creator," and putting on Christ, or as he quotes Thomas Merton: putting on our "true self in Christ."

       Some of the subtitles speak of Benedictine spirituality in this powerful booklet, "Benedictine Life is Life in Christ" are the following:" "Prayer in Solitude," "Praise and Thanksgiving," "Detach, Detach, Detach!" "Humility -- Our Truth," "Benedictine Self-realization," "The Pattern of Our Life," "Retreat to Prayer," "Return to Service," "Blessed are the Peacemakers," "Pax," "and "If You Would be my Disciple."  Also, our "motto" for Benedictine Oblates is: "Seeking God in Everyday Life," and I would add, all day long. During a recent confession with an older wise priest, Fr. Emmanuel Bertrand, I was told to try to: "Cultivate serenity and staying always in the presence of God, every minute of every day, in everything."  These traits and virtues are more than evident in Dorothy Day, a Benedictine Oblate.  I have a lonnnng way to go!

      Here is a gem under "Pax": "Devout Christians don't go out to make peace, ... Rather, we go inward to receive it, to find it, and then having found it, to share it outwardly with the world by radiating that peace ..." (p. 15). Our dear Fr. Meinrad Brune, Director of Benedictine Oblates out of the St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana, described in a lenten letter a beautiful tradition that he shared with neighbors while growing up that seems to me analagous to the spiritual (and material!) clearing out necessary.

     "When my two older brothers and I were boys, there were three families on our block who would help each other to do 'spring cleaning.'  We would spend a day at each of the three houses.  Mothers and children would all have to help.  The fathers (before they left for work) would move out all the mattresses, carpets, and rugs to be aired out in the fresh air.  Once those things were removed, we began a thorough cleaning of the entire house....  cleansing and simplifying [and I would add organizing and freeing ones life!]." 

        I cannot imagine that openness to allow others to experience the inner clutter, grime, and science specimens in the deepest recesses of each others' homes, amazing!  How accepting and freeing this whole experience must have been! How HOLY!  It would be a great annual tradition.

             In the spirit of Dorothy Day, Peter Maurin, St. Francis of Assissi, and Pope Francis, my teensy attempt at becoming more poor is to try, to TRY, to go a year without a car.  I have already gone about two months, borrowing cars to drive at times.  I am stopping this as well.  If I cannot get a ride somewhere, I simply will not go.  I look forward to the day of embracing "Lady Poverty," as Peter Maurin called it, or "voluntary poverty" as it is sometimes called.  Dorothy always said, "If you can get used to bedbugs and lice, you can do the Catholic Worker!"  I don't want to go that far yet!

"We would have no poverty in the world,
if everyone tried to become the poorest."
                            -- Peter Maurin
       The frustration level has been high and this in my summer off as a teacher! It will be much more of a challenge in the school year but I work probably less than 2 miles from home, and most of my world is this far away as well. There are bus lines though, and a spectacular sturdy bike my sister Lisa gave me last year.   Already I feel so much more healthy, more alive and one with nature all around me, and more spiritually hungry.  We'll see if it lasts!

        The spiritual clearing is even more critical for an Oblate or for anyone. A very Benedictine thing to do is to draw oneself inward, where God truly is, to attempt to catch that wisp of smoke, deliberate attuneness to that still small voice of God as described in the Old Testament. Eucharistic Adoration before our actual Savior Himself is one of the greatest quiet, holy places for this, going into the desert with only God, as Christ did. 

        I am not talking about reading or praying set prayers during this time.  Challenge yourself to have nothing to read (bring pen and paper to write!) and of pouring one's heart out, one's deepest longings, fears, praises, desires, inspirations, ...  If you have never stayed for two or three or more hours (my favorite), it is sooo worth it!  This is not wasted time!  Also, it is much more of a "Desert Father" experience when so much can truly, truly come from the deep recesses within, bubbling up to the surface perhaps for the first time.  "Be still ..."

      In the Divine Office book of "Christian Prayers," pp. 2028-2029, St. Augustine writes the following: 

      "To pray for a longer time is not the same as to pray by multiplying words, as some people suppose.  Lengthy talk is one thing, a prayerful disposition which lasts a long time is another.  For it is even written in reference to the Lord himself that he spent the night in prayer and that he prayed at great length [off before dawn, going alone by the wayside]. Was he not giving us an example by this?"  and "To spend much time in prayer is to knock with a persistent and holy fervor at the door of the one whom we beseech.  This task is generally accomplished more through sighs than words, more through weeping than speech.  He places our tears in his sight, and our sighs are not hidden from him ..."

       I admit that I have been perplexed at exactly how the Holy Spirit wants me to pray for exceedingly important things, when surrender, receptiveness and submission to the Will of the Father feels the opposite of pressing or begging God for this or that.  These yearnings, pleading, and crying out seem indeed, acceptable, though when we always end the sentence, as Jesus modeled, with  "not my will but Thy Will be done." 

      St. Padre Pio put it this way:  When we die, we will be presented, in a gold chalice, all of our tears."  He also said that when he dies, his real mission will begin!  So I ask about 30 people from heaven to pray with me and for me every  time I sit down to pray at length in any way (even mass).  He's working for my prayers, calling down the Holy Spirit upon me, to pray in the manner that God wants, and not through my feeble attempts. 

     A final note on passionate prayer is from St. Claude de la Colombiere in the book, Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence (p. 117-118)

       "If after a year we find  that our prayer is as fervent as it was at the beginning, then we need not doubt about the success of our efforts, and instead of losing courage after so long a delay, we should rejoice because we can be certain that our desires will be all the more fully satisfied for the length of time we have prayed."

      And "...it took St. Monica (;) sixteen years to obtain the conversion of Augustine, but the conversion was entire and far beyond what she had prayed for. ...Think what would have happened had she given up hope after a couple of years, after ten or twelve years, when ... her son grew worse instead of better (118) ... " Your every word is numbered and what you receive will be in the measure of the time you have spent asking.  Your treasure is piling up and suddenly one day it will overflow to an extent beyond your dreams (119).."  She had prayed for Augustine to stop being promiscuous and he embraced chastity.  She begged that he come back into the Catholic Church and witnessed him  becoming a bishop!  She was desperate that he turn from his heretical ways and he became a pillar of the Church, defending it in numerous ways. 

     It continues: "Why he should ask us to pray, when he knows what we need before we ask him, may perplex us if we do not realize that our Lord and God does not want to know what we want (for he cannot fail to know it) but wants rather to exercise our desire through our prayers, so that we may be able to receive what he is preparing to give us.  His gift is very great indeed, but our capacity is too small and limited to receive it.  That is why we are told: Enlarge your desires, do not bear the yoke of unbelievers.  The deeper our faith, the stronger our hope, the greater our desire, the larger will be our capacity to receive that gift, which is very great indeed. ... We pray always with unwearied desire. ... The more fervent the desire, the more worthy will be its fruit.  ... The Apostles tell us 'pray without ceasing'."
Saints Louis and Zelie Martin, parents of St. Teresa de Lisieux
(far right) cultivated deep prayer lives in their many daughters
 - five became religious sisters- getting up at 5:00 for daily mass 
         One risks, like Christ, in quiet time of solitude with Christ in Eucharistic Adoration, the stark aloneness, nothingness but our thoughts, our being, with our Maker.  One also experiences the appreciated immense filling up of the soul, as a driving thunderstorm in an arid desert. The contrast lends to the experience, the seeking God's face, God's voice, the voice of the Beloved. 

        Dorothy Day seems to paint eloquently what happens when one emerges:
    "...the seeds in the desert, the seed scattered by the solitary, Charles de Foucauld, those who go out into all the poverty-stricken places in the world and work for their daily bread and live the life of a contemplative in the world....and the greatness means the overcoming of temptation and laying down one's life for one's fellows ... the victory of love over hatred and mistrust." (from a column of Dorothy's reprinted in "The Catholic Radical," Worchester).

       One cannot speak of poverty without the life witness of the saint of whom our beloved Pope Francis is named after:  St. Francis of Assissi.  His life legacy of living in poverty is well-described in his article on the Catholic Encyclopedia website.  From a former seminarian who nearly became a Franciscan Brother Minor, he said that Francis, like Dorothy Day, was torn between the contemplative life with his intense communion with God (ecstaties that would render him like a corpse, the stigmata, or actual physical wounds of Christ in the hands, feet, and side, etc) and with the active life, going out to preach, take care of the sick, etc. 

      The story goes that he was so torn that he asked God for two different people from different places to give him an answer to this question for his life, because he was far more drawn to the contemplative life than to the active one.  Sure enough, God sent two separate people to say the same thing to him clearly - that he is to have the active life among people, among the wider Church, so in dire need of his way of holiness in that era. St. Francis' way of life so surpassed what was known that even members in his own order tried to have him kicked out of it! He was pressed and pressed to have a rule, and he finally came up with this: "Yes, here is my rule - the folly of the Cross."   

    One reason why the picture above is one of my favorites is because, like Christ, his life was not easy at all as shown!  It was far far more stressful and challenging than we can imagine.  It even looks as though he has an eye infection, his clothes are very tattered, there is a certain sadness in his eyes.  Yet, like Christ, his radical love and humility was and were so far beyond those around him, that he was misunderstood, rejected, and sometimes even hated.  This, we would say, is what we are seeking most at The Lamb Catholic Worker:  contemplatives reverently loyal to their Catholic Church (Bride of Christ) and to the Chair of St. Peter, Pope Francis, willing to embrace voluntary poverty in the deep inner city (and/or on a Catholic Worker sister farm).  Like Dorothy Day, we are hoping for those willing to look beyond the judgment and flaws of others to see only Christ, to have eyes and ears for His voice alone in the poor. 

    Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta once put it this way:

"We have done
so much with so little,
for so long,
we now deserve
to do everything
with nothing."

 Happenings of the Lamb     

    Well, nothing to tell in terms of taking in the homeless yet.  There are very interested people though, more so than in a while!  Come Lord Jesus.  St. Francis of Assissi once said, "Sanctify yourself and you sanctify society."  That's what I am sticking to right now as I go back to D.C. for another few weeks to take care of my Dad.

      On a very positive note, more and more people are beginning to take on as part of their way of life, besides daily mass and rosary, the Divine Office of the priests.  Eleven people were praying it together in the Guadalupe Chapel at Christ the King after the 7:00 mass a week and a half ago.  Fr. Coleman encourages every single person to do so in many many homilies, that we are a priestly people needing this to keep us following Christ faithfully.  It also has a beautiful prayer for every single morning, the Gospel Canticle of Zechariah (St. John the Baptist's father) which ends: ".. and guide our feet into the way of peace."  It's right there!  Some who pray this still guide our feet into the way of war, but perhaps if many more people do so, we will indeed create more "John the Baptists" (the Canticle of Zecharia is one addressed to the infant John the Baptist), heralding Christ and guiding "our feet into the way of peace."

      I will also say that any parts of the Old Testament within the Divine Office that seem to contradict Christ's message and way (as he contrasted many ways of old with His new way - "...before it was an eye for an eye,.. but now I say love your enemies..."), I substitute in my heart what Christ would say consistent with His words and actions.  For example instead of praying, "... in the Lord's name I crushed them," I pray "in the Lord's name I pray for them" as Jesus commanded and modeled to do with our enemies.

       Keep the prayers coming strong for The Lamb Catholic Worker!  I feel we are on the brink.  Pray for Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin's canonization too!  Also pray, on this feast of St. Benedict, for more Third Order Benedictines, or Benedictine Oblates, like Dorothy Day.  Amazingly, you can be as young as fifteen and it is inter-denominational (it's true!).  St. Benedict, pray for us!

       When I get to whining about all the walking and trips by bike I have to make, I think of the Montgomery Bus Boycott which entailed well over a year of walking almost everywhere for people who had to perform hard labor each day too.  This was bravely undertaken in order to end the discrimination laws on buses.  Women older than myself would sometimes walk for almost two hours to work, clean all day, and walk home again!  The task was daunting amidst deaths and many many threats.  They pushed onward though, healthier, stronger, and more determined with each passing day partly because they walked so much!

          I also think of Harriet Tubman, the Moses of the people, who went back into the deep south 17 times - mostly by foot - to bring people to freedom, to "set the captives free." This was with a $50,000 bounty on her head, a serious ankle issue from youth and black outs from a heavy weight that had been thrown at her head while defending a young  man about to be whipped. She said, "I freed a thousand slaves and I would have freed a thousand more if they knew they were slaves."  Pray for us Harriet!  We, like you, want to "set the captives free," especially those who only know captivity (who do not realize they are enslaved).

      By the way, my ESL student Michael and I wrote a compelling letter, dated Dec. 18, 2014, to President Barack Obama to have Andrew Jackson removed immediately from the twenty dollar bill.  Three months later a new organization sprung up called Women on the Twenty.  I believe it was Michael's letter and push that someone saw and ran with, personally, and we are excited, even if he never gets the credit!