Vol.6 No.11 DOM Message
Daughters of Mary Instruction November 15, 2016
In all honesty, nearly all of my prayer time over the last six weeks has been devoted to the words I would say to you this morning. Should I be profound? Should I be funny? Should I tell you about an inspiring moment in my life? Exactly how should I introduce myself to you as your new facilitator?
At times, I had too much to say to you, and at other times, I had nothing to say at all. That is, until I read Elizabeth’s commentary on Christ our King. At once, my confusion melted away, and the voice of the Holy Spirit was quite clear. Keep my words simple, and let the Gospel and the commentary do the talking.
And, so, I will do just that. While you do deserve to know a little bit about me, my words to you will be the simplest I can muster.
My name is Lynn Donaghey Clapper, and except for a few short years during my early marriage, St. Ignatius has been my home parish since I was a little girl. My husband, Bob, and I have been married for 40 years, and have been blessed with three beautiful children, all married with homes of their own, and nine grandchildren, five of whom live in Mobile and attend St. Ignatius School. Our lives have come full circle.
Full circle…and as we listen to Elizabeth recap the year for us this morning, I am struck at how our lives in the Lord are not lonely journeys that seem sometimes endless, but that we are always part of circling back again. In Daughters of Mary, our goal is always to renew our faith. We are always coming full circle.
And so, let me tell you what each of you means to me in the full circle of my life. To the elder ladies of Daughters of Mary, and of St. Ignatius and other parishes throughout Mobile, let me say that I know you. I have watched you and tried to follow your lead my entire life. I consider myself blessed to be counted among you, and while you may not want to be, and may not know that you are, you are the leaders in our faith.
To the ladies that share the middle years with me… and as only God would do it, each Tuesday I find myself in the company of my sister, at least two of my cousins, and a surprising number of ladies who graduated high school with me… I am you. We know where each other comes from. Let’s hold each other accountable as we share this special time each Tuesday.
To the younger of Daughters of Mary, who may wonder just what is going on here each Tuesday morning, let me say to you that I have been you, and in many ways, I am still you. We all are. All of us miss the years when we could freely offer advice, and all of us cherish the feeling that we are needed. Please, as you walk through the complicated, busy years in which you find yourselves now, let us walk with you. It is through you that we come full circle.
And while these words may catch us by surprise, at the same time we begin to understand that coming full circle in our lives is part and parcel of the gifts of mercy and forgiveness that are the foundation of our Catholic faith. How many days have you said to the Lord, “Today, I want to follow you more closely than yesterday.” Or, thought to yourself “Today, I will love my husband better than I have been doing.” Or, said to your grown daughter or son, “I want to be a better mother to you now, than I was when you were younger.” This is coming full circle. This is starting over. This is the grace of beginning again.
As Daughters of Mary, we are always renewing faith and family. We are women of every ilk who come together for an hour of prayer each week. And through the grace of the Word of God, through the grace of prayerful commentaries, through the grace of profound insights of each of our Daughters, through the omnipresent grace of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist, we are continually encouraged to begin again. Today, I encourage you to sit back and let the words of Luke’s Gospel wash over you, and then to listen closely to Elizabeth’s stirring tribute to Christ our King. Her words put this year into a perspective most of us would likely never think to understand. Without even realizing it, we have come full circle.
I hope these words have been simple, and as I close this instruction let me leave you with a final thought. We all come to Daughters of Mary for different reasons, but the mere fact that you are here is proof that Christ is your King. As St. Ignatius would say it, you have chosen the Standard of Christ. Let’s pledge to ourselves, and to each other, that we will be back here next Tuesday. Let us pledge that we will allow ourselves to be renewed in our faith, and by renewing our faith, we will renew our families. And, as we honor Christ as our King, we know Advent fast approaches. The Catholic Church beckons us to begin again.