These days I am often going back to my notes from the 1975 International Conference of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal held in Rome. I’d like to reflect with you for a few moments on a prophecy that was given in St. Peter’s during that conference:
“Because I love you, I want to show you what I am doing in the world today. I want to prepare you for what is to come. Days of darkness are coming on the world, days of tribulation…Buildings that are now standing will not be standing. Supports that are there for my people now will not be there,. I want you to be prepared, my people, to know only me and to cleave to me and to have me in a way deeper than ever before. I will lead you into the desert…I will strip you of everything that you are depending on now, so you depend just on me. A time of darkness is coming on the world, but a time of glory is coming for my church, a time of glory is coming for my people. I will pour out on you all the gifts of my Spirit. I will prepare you for spiritual combat; I will prepare you for a time of evangelism that the world has never seen…And when you have nothing but me, you will have everything: lands, fields, homes and brothers and sisters, and love and joy and peace more than ever before. Be ready, my people, I want to prepare you.”
I think we need to pay attention to these words, which have some clear application in 2016 as we live through this time in our U.S. history and in the Church. We need to do a personal inventory of our lives: Is our faith, our hope, our love for God and His people strong enough to handle the darkness and confusion beginning to penetrate our public and our private lives? Is reading the Scripture and our personal prayer part of our daily lives? Is the Eucharist truly food for my soul—as often as possible? Is the Sacrament of Reconciliation a frequent/regular part of every week/month? Each of us needs to take an inventory of “where we are” so that we can be in a place to point the way to the LIGHT in the midst of growing darkness. God will supply but we need to be coming to Him daily for help and direction. Are we?
As an English instructor for many years, I first came in contact with a prayer composed by John Henry Cardinal Newman who lived and served in England in the 1800’s. There is a portion of that prayer (see italicized below) that I have made part of my daily life:
“Dear Lord, Help me to spread your fragrance wherever I go. Flood my soul with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my being so utterly that all my life may be only a radiance of yours. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact may feel your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me, but only you, O Lord!…Stay with me and then I will begin to shine as you do; so to shine as to be a light to others. The light, O Lord will be all from you; none of it will be mine. It will be you shining on others through me. Let me thus praise you in the way you love best, by shining on those around me. Let me preach you without preaching, not by words but by example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears you. Amen.” – Cardinal John Henry Newman 1801-1890; beatified by Pope Benedict, September 10, 2010.
Let us ask God daily for the help we need to let His light shine through us…His mercy endures forever! Let us drink daily and deeply from His Merciful Heart!
Sr. Ann Shields will be speaking at the 2017 Power and Purpose Conference. Hope to see you there!