A few summers ago, I was called way out of my comfort zone by the Holy Spirit, through my dear friend Rachel, to be on a parish renewal “travel team.” My particular role was to be the prayer support for those giving and those receiving the weekend renewal retreat. My assignment was to spend the weekend in front of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament in a tiny parish chapel. Rachel and I had just had a coffee at our local mall, were deep in a conversation about our history curricula, as homeschool moms, and we had left the café to walk and talk. Educating our children “for eternity,” as one lovely Catholic provider of homeschooling materials puts it, was foremost on our hearts and minds.
Then, the Spirit moved Rachel. She asked me to do this weekend “job” and could I please come to our parish this Sunday evening and, if all present affirmed my call, I would join the team for formation weekends for the next three months before giving the retreat at a different parish (hence, “travel team”) in late fall. Well, okay, here we go.
I had asked Rachel for coffee because I was stressed out and feeling a bit overwhelmed with homeschooling, and our Merciful Savior thought it best for my salvation for me to give more, not less, as I had planned.
“God will not be outdone in generosity,” we are often exhorted. We know it. We experience it.
We really do experience this in a deep and moving way; and, yet, if you are like me, the experiences sometimes fade, fade even unto a sort of “spiritual amnesia,” a certain forgetfulness of all the miracles God works in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Yes, we pray to be more loving, more open to His promptings, more like Him and like His holy mother, who is the “Seat of Wisdom.” Still, in the moment, our weak flesh trembles.
Oh my goodness did our awesome God flood me, and later He flooded our family, with graces and blessings from that renewal weekend! One of the biggest graces was in such a small thing: the clean, white linen altar cloth under the monstrance was most lovingly embroidered in red with the words, “O Living Flame of Love!” My little blue Regnum Christi prayer book was in hand much of the weekend; and, at one point, I wrote this out in the front flap. Since that weekend, I often pray it with my morning prayers asking our Lady to take my heart to her Son and to set it on fire for souls. Yes, our Lord is alive and truly present in the Holy Eucharist so ready to set our entire body, mind, soul and spirit on fire for love of souls. We are meant to be what we receive, a tall order indeed.
Lent is about hope and healing, forgiving and giving. There is no giving Him, if He cannot abide in us. Herein lies a deep and beautiful mystery. The Lord of Lords, King of Kings and Prince of Peace will abide in sinners. We are all sinners and also pilgrims called to reach out to other sinner-pilgrim souls.
Called to reach out of our comfort zones, to hear the call and to drop our fears and reservations and go. We are like candles that in burning are made smaller.
I recently found myself being asked to make a little handful of “leaps of faith,” in some ways, not as big as was this weekend. The pattern was the same: less me, more Him. So, as we enter in to what will surely be a Lent of trials, let us all pray with great fervor for each other’s intentions and needs. Persevering together in our hardships is a sign of hope and will keep us on the path to Heaven.
Oh, Living Flame of Love, enkindle our hearts, and enlighten our minds, to desire with every fiber of our being the way to eternity, Your Holy Way. We ask this for all of us in our beautiful ecclesial family, brothers and sisters in the Most Precious Blood of Christ Jesus, under our Lady’s ever protective mantle of protection. Amen. Alleluia!