Cherished Time of Prayer

ConcordRiverFullwTreeHere by the river is one of my cherished prayer-spots during this past week’s retreat, where God made his presence felt.

I was touched to receive prayer intentions from so many of you last week. I dedicated a certain day to each prayer intention, as well as praying for everyone through the week. Some of you offered prayers for me and for the other sisters making retreat–your prayers were certainly answered! Thank you so much for sharing this cherished time of prayer with me–through your intentions and prayers.

It was a profound, beautiful, comforting and challenging week…all the things that retreats should be. Most of all, it was a delight just to be able to focus on the Lord and listen to his loving voice. I know I will continue to “unpack” the spiritual fruits of my retreat in the coming weeks and months. One of the Scripture passage that spoke to me especially was Matthew 6:25-33–that if we set our heart on the Lord, we do not need to worry because he will provide for us.

I also prayed for all the new media initiatives coming up…among many others, especially: my newest book Soul of Christ: Meditations on a Timeless Prayer (November release!), the two upcoming digital magazines that we’re just starting to prepare, several new developing sections for our www.pauline.org website, the new DVDs about Our Lady of Fatima and Pope Francis (releasing in August!), and the soon-to-be released film about our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, Media Apostle. 

My prayer for you

As I begin retreat this evening (Saturday evening, although I’m scheduling this post to go up on Monday), I gather all the intentions you have shared with me, and offer them with you to our loving God. In addition to many specific intentions for others (what generous readers you are!), many of you also asked me to pray for your spiritual growth, and you offered to pray for me. I am honored to make this retreat “with” you in this way. Saint Paul’s Prayer in Ephesians captures well the spirit of my prayer for you and for myself:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:14-21)

Can I Pray for You?

IMG_0101I will be away for my annual eight-day retreat from July 19th-28th, 2014, and it would be my joy to pray for you and your intentions in a particular way! Send me your prayer intention(s) by using the form in this post  or in the comments below. After July 19th I won’t respond by email, but I will continue to check in every day of the retreat for your intentions.

 

Love, foundation of all true communication

Last month (June 18th) I mentioned that, to prepare for our centenary year of the foundation of the Daughters of Saint Paul, I wanted to share a bit more about our communication spirituality and how it’s transformed my life.

IMG_0499Chosen and loved in Christ Jesus, together we communicate the Gospel to everyone.

These words were the theme of one of our recent General Chapters, and they have really stayed with me as a way of understanding and expressing what it means to be a Daughter of Saint Paul. At the same time, in a general way, these words apply to everyone who has been baptized!

Chosen and loved
The basic foundation of life is love. We are created by a God who loves us so much that he chooses to create us (not one of the other countless possibilities God in his infinity could come up with). As Saint Paul uses this phrase, though, it means even more than our being created by Love. “Chosen and loved” also means that we are chosen for a special reason, a unique purpose that only we can fulfill.

In The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien describes creation as God’s beautiful symphony. Each of us has our unique part to play in God’s universe-sized orchestra. Sometimes we carry the melody, sometimes we might play harmony, sometimes we provide back up or “depth” to another instrument, and sometimes we may simply be silent (or turn the page of the score for another player). But always we are interweaving with others, offering our unique “sound” to the symphony of beauty and purpose that God has designed.

Being chosen means that God gives us the joy of being special, of being needed, of having purpose in this world, of making a difference in others’ lives, of giving ourselves fully in love–which is the deepest joy we can experience as human beings.

in Christ Jesus
This phrase totally captures Saint Paul’s spirit, and I hope that someday, it totally captures the whole of my life experience. Because of the gift of my Baptism and God’s grace, all of my life is in Christ, whether I realize it or not.

But it’s not enough for me to simply know this. I want to respond to his loving invitation to “remain in him” (John 15:4) and completely dedicate every moment of my life to Christ. I want all my efforts and motives to be focused on seeking the kingdom of God; I want my every thought, word, feeling and action to be fully his.

I am still far from my goal of belonging completely to Christ, but my comfort is that he knows that my desire for this is growing, and it is his grace that will transform me so that one day–in heaven if not on earth–I will belong completely to him.

This real, passionate, “total” relationship with Christ becomes the foundation of all my actions and choices, as I hope to post about further next week: together we communicate the Gospel to everyone.

 

Praying with Pope Francis this July

newsvalogoThe Pope offers a monthly intention that we can unite in praying for with him. This month’s is “that sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.” (From: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-prayer-intentions-for-july )

As was illustrated profoundly for me in the film, Invictus, sports can bring us together as a community in a way that very few other things can.

This wonderful online article at the Apostleship of Prayer’s children’s ministry site offers a list of twelve family sports movies that you can use to highlight the Pope’s intention–to celebrate the gift of sports, to reflect on how they bring us together, and even to pray together at the end of the film for an increase in human respect, brotherhood, and sisterhood.

From Rudy and The Greatest Game Ever Played, to Mighty Macs and The Rookie, these are definitely some of my favorite sports films that the family can enjoy together.

New Writing Adventure: Blogging a Book!

IMG_20140124_115240645Have I mentioned before that I’m hoping to blog a new book starting this fall? This is something I’ve been growing increasingly curious about doing, even though I suspect that I’ll eventually be able to traditionally publish it. I’m still figuring out the advantages, the disadvantages, and how I can make it work for me and for the readers.

Why on earth would I do this?

1) It’s something new and I love the challenge of exploring it and seeing how it works

2) It “fits” with my new role of writing for our Pauline digital department, especially the challenge of learning to write “short form,” but it also fits with my love of writing long form

 3) It’s a way of reaching out to and building an audience that I might not have been able to reach in the past. Especially since some of the target audience is young adults, and I don’t know whether they’d be able to find my book without a strong online presence.

4) The interactive possibilities–I’m hoping the blog can be interactive, with comments and insights from readers that offers additional enrichment–and helps me to stay in touch with the needs of the readers

* * *

How-to-Blog-a-Book-Cover-WEBTo begin preparing, back in January I started reading Nina Amir’s extraordinarily helpful blog, How To Blog a Book, which I found out about because Nina was featured on the Writer’s Digest website. Next, I borrowed her book from the library (as you can see, this is a very low-budget operation!), and not only read it cover to cover, but took extensive notes.

Next came brainstorming all the content I’ve developed on this topic over the years, trying to figure out a title and unique approach to the topic, and coming up with a very rough table of contents so that I could see how it might be possible to  break down the content into small, “bloggable” chunks.

This took me into mid February, when I had to put the project aside, due to other projects that became more than full-time.

But using the July 4th weekend, I was able to take a little time to explore this new project, and I’m now testing out the title and topics with potential readers. Next? To write a proposal for the publisher and come up with a real Table of Contents.

This has not been my usual route to develop a new book. If you have blogged a book or are planning to do so, I’d be delighted to hear your suggestions and advice.

Day 3 of Triduum of Prayer to Saint Paul

Day 3 of the Triduum to Saint Paul can be found here.

The beautiful reflection today invites us to see Saint Paul in the light of both the greatness and the suffering of his call, and to reflect on the greatness and suffering of our call as communicators and followers of Christ. How do we bear it? Like Saint Paul, we live every moment with and in Christ.