Vol.6 No.4 DoM E Message
Spiritual Gift of the Week
We pray to be faithful servants who sow seeds of love and grace throughout our daily lives. Just as Mary carried the Seed of God, who was the Light of the World, may we be a light to others.
Spiritual Instruction of the Week
Pray in freedom and grace—-
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor. 17).
Dear Beautiful Daughters of Mary,
We speak a great deal about religious freedom. We petition for it often. We hope that our leaders will secure our right to practice our Catholic faith freely and fully. Last week however, when I spoke about the purpose of our weekly prayer instruction, as a guide to spiritual freedom, I was not referring to the freedom to practice our religion. For sure, no government can give or take away our spiritual freedom. Only the Holy Spirit gives us the freedom to pray. And only in prayer, are we given the grace to freely choose Christ.
There is a tale told by storyteller Megan Mckenna about the woman who wanted peace in the world and peace in her own heart. The woman strolls into a random store at the mall, only to find Jesus behind the counter. Recognizing him from traditional pictures, she conjures the confidence to question him:
“Excuse me are you Jesus?” she asked.
“Do you work here?” she said. “No,” Jesus answered, “I own the store.”
“Oh what do you sell?” She asked. “Oh, just about anything!”
“Yeah, anything you want. What do your want?” Jesus asked. “I don’t know,” said the woman.
“Well, feel free to walk up and down the aisles, make a list, see what it is you want—
and then come back and we’ll see what we can do for you.” Jesus said.
The woman then surveys the aisles, sees a number of appealing buys:
peace on earth, no more war, no hunger or poverty, peace in families,
no more drugs, harmony, clean air, careful use of resources.
But when she returns to the counter and finds only seed packets, she asks:
“You mean I don’t get the finished product?”
“No,” Jesus answered, “this is a place of dreams. You come and see what it looks like, and I give you the seeds. You plant the seeds. You go home and nurture them and help them grow—
and someone else reaps the benefits.”
“Oh,” she said—
and she left the store without buying anything.
On Sunday we will pray Psalm 95: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” A hardened heart—a heart of stone, as the prophet Jeremiah called it—this is a heart unfit and unfree. If we reflect on this, we realize its truth. Seeds cannot be planted on stone. Seeds unplanted will never be nurtured. They will never bloom. They will never benefit others.
When we pray, we learn to discern our own hardness of heart. We see our own ‘stones’—the stones which block the seeds of God’s grace. What constrains and closes our hearts? What keeps us from freely receiving God’s love? Do we hold on to insecurity and fear? Do we hold on to the past? Do we hold on to our pain? Are we reluctant to be ourselves with God? Do we resist God’s love and mercy? Do we even want to be free?
When we pray we walk into Jesus’ store and it is filled with packets of seeds—seeds of Christ’s life and love—seeds of grace. Are our hearts free enough to buy into the hope of God’s grace? Are we free enough to receive that which our heart desires? Do we know what we want? Again, do we even want to be free?
“For freedom Christ has set us free,” Paul told the Galatians (5:1). Dear beautiful Daughters of Mary, let us freely pray that seeds of God’s grace may be planted in our hearts. Let us freely choose Christ. Let us pray…
In December, 2015, Pope Francis said: “Only hope in God’s mercy gives us freedom. You can follow a thousand catechism courses, a thousand spirituality courses, a thousand yoga or zen courses and all these things. But none of this will be able to give you the freedom as a child (of God). Only the Holy Spirit is capable of banishing, of breaking that hardness of heart and making it … soft? No, I don’t like that word, … ‘docile’. Docile towards the Lord. Docile when it comes to the freedom to love.”
The Pope’s words echo the Catechism: ’the grace of Christ is not in the slightest way of rival of freedom. “On the contrary,” we are told, the more docile we are to the promptings of grace, the more we grow in inner freedom and confidence…the grace of the Holy Spirit educates us in spiritual freedom in order to makes us free collaborators in his work in the Church and in the world.” (1742)
Veni, Spirito Santo, la misericordia di Dio ci salva—
Come Holy Spirit, it is by God’s mercy that we are saved,