May the peace of the Lord Jesus be with you. The thoughts
of St. Maximus are particularly apt for us during this holy time
of year as we continue to reflect on our own need for a deeper
conversion to the Lord Jesus. We must continue to fight the temptation
to believe that somehow the Lord is only a reluctant savior, or
that He does not really delight in our more deeply surrendering
to Him. It is a lie from the Devil, and we need to recognize
it as such. The truth of God's heart is revealed in the Word
of God: "Why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have
no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies, says the Lord God.
Return and live!" (Ezekiel 18:31-32). He delights in saving
us, He longs to save us, He earnestly desires to share with us
His forgiveness and mercy. Let us then turn back to Him and live.
We must also, of course, avoid the flip side of this temptation,
to so presume on His love and His mercy that we get flippant or
careless about our serious, continuous need to repent and be converted.
A heartfelt appreciation of His mercy should not lead us to laxity
or sloth in our relationship with Him. On the contrary, it should
help us to be grateful for His mercy, and ever more desirous of
then living in a way that is pleasing to Him, a way that His Name
And in the midst of this struggle, it is good for us to remember
that we are not alone. As I have mentioned at Mass a few times
over the last few weeks, a couple of weeks ago, prompted by the
increasingly critical situations that a whole set of our families
and our kids are finding themselves in, I felt the need to seek
more intercession for us, so I wrote to all of the American contemplative
monasteries that I was aware of, pleading with them to pray for
our Parish, and especially our kids. I wrote to all of the American
houses of the Discalced Carmelite nuns, the Poor Clare nuns, the
Trappistine nuns, the Carthusians, the Camaldolese, and the Trappists.
I received letters back, so far, from 52 of the 104 monasteries
that I contacted. I was very blessed by the greatly encouraging
words they have been sending back, (not to mention the life-time
supply of holy cards). What was particularly touching was how
they expressed gratitude to me for asking them to pray, as if
we were doing them a favor of some kind!?!
Let me share just a few of their comments, so you can be
blessed as well:
-from the Trappist Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity (Huntsville, UT):
"We will be glad to join our prayers with yours
be discouraging at times to see the overwhelming pressure and
influence of what the Holy Father has called the culture of death.
But, where evil abounds, the grace of God even more abounds.
And the darkness makes the light all that more brilliant."
--from the Discalced Carmelite Monastery of St. Therese (Clinton, MI):
"It is sad to think that so many of our precious young people
we 're sure that Jesus has them all in His
tender care and we assure you that the young men and women in
your Parish and all the youth of today are very much in our hearts
--from the Poor Clare Corpus Christi Monastery (Rockford, IL):
"We are keeping you and your parishioners, especially the
young and vulnerable in our daily prayers and Masses. We also
ask Him to always grant you generous adults who can help you reach
those who are most in need and lead them back to our Lord and
our Blessed Mother."
--from the Carthusian Charterhouse of the Transfiguration (Arlington, VT):
the community prayers you requested have been asked
our prayers help you to obtain the favors you are seeking from
May the Lord Jesus richly bless our brothers and sisters who have given their lives in intercession for the Church. May their example inspire us to also be faithful to prayer in our own lives as well! Fr. Ed