Usually I blog on a Sunday. I realized that last week, I told you about the day we would spend at St. Jerome's Parish in Brampton, Ontario. Since our van was on its way to Boston with two Sisters who had meetings to attend there, our good neighbor and Cooperator Pat D'Cruz drove Sister Donna and I to Brampton. There were some snow flakes coming, but the salt trucks were ahead of us, which was very reassuring. At the Mass, the pastor, whom I know as Father Jan, welcomed us. He said, "The Daughters of St. Paul are here," and they did not arrive empty handed. We want them to go home empty handed." Then after Communion I spoke at two of the Masses and Sr. Donna spoke at the last Mass. I mentioned how as Daughters of St. Paul, we use the media "for God," and if St. Paul were alive today, we figure that he would use the media to preach the Good News. I held up some of our children's' titles and a book on St. Luke's gospel. I also assured the people that we do pray for them, and that prayer accompanies all the work that we do--especially prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I felt inspired to keep walking down the aisle after I left the pulpit. In that way, I could get to our tables in the foyer before the final procession. In a flash, a sea of people was surging against our tables holding up books, Cd's and DVDs. For the second Mass, I had to pick different books to focus on, since the first titles were disappearing fast. When we packed up and met Pat at 2:30, Father's suggestion had come true: book wise, we were pretty much "empty handed." However, we were very happy that God's Word, in the guise of many books and audio/visuals had elected to stay in many homes in Brampton.
I spent most of the week helping in our center (centre is the Canadian spelling) on Dufferin Street. Despite the icy weather on Monday, things kept busy. There was a major computer glitch which tried the patience of all of us, and of our heroic staff members. The problem was finally fixed on Thursday. Once it was said that there are "martyrs of patience." Well, I think our staff should be carrying the palms of "patience martyrdom" high for all to see!
Sometimes phone calls are routed to my office. I picked up the call one day from a priest at the Catholic Mission in Perilous Bay in Nunavut. That is way up north. Father had a strong French-Canadian accent, even though he did speak English. I still have to look up Perilous Bay on a map. Our assistant manager assured me that it is a bush community, probably reached only by plane. That was a neat experience speaking to a missionary priest from our Canadian Far North. Father's call gave me the incentive to take up my study of French once again. I have two computer programs to help me. Both employ microphones which then have a gauge with a line that wavers between tourist (red: 0% pronunciation skills to green for pretty good.) Right now, I can pray the Hail Mary in French and say Good Day, and Good Night. So I have a lot more to learn!
Since we are still in Ordinary Time, I wanted to share with you something I shared with our Pauline Cooperators at our meeting last week. The information of suggestions came from an Italian Pauline priest, Father Guido Gandolfo. Don Guido, as he is called over in Italy, has been preaching on a book written many years ago by our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, called "Donec Formetur Christus in Vobis." That is Latin for Paul's words in Galatians 4:19 where he tells the people that as a mother is in labor to give birth to her child, so Paul is undergoing pain similar to child birth "so that Christ may be formed in us." Don Guido suggests taking St. Paul in his conversion which we celebrate this week on January 25th as a point of reference. When Paul was struck down on his way to Damascus, and the Lord spoke to him, he was told, "Get up, go into the city...and it will be told to you what to do." From then on, for the most part, God's Will for Paul was mediated through many ways: the Word of God and the Eucharistic celebration; through people, like Barnabas, Peter and other companions; it was mediated by the needs of the people to whom he was sent; God's will was mediated and manifested also through events, and circumstances. So for us, God uses these ways, including that "still, small voice inside of each of us which gives us inspirations to behave well" to let us know what his Will is for each moment of our days.
Besides being aware of and assenting to these mediations of God in our daily, "ordinary" lives, Father Guido also said to keep asking the Holy Spirit to help us live "of" Jesus. He suggests that we set aside three "moments" in our day (in the morning, in the early afternoon, and in the evening) to renew our consecration to the Holy Spirit with this little prayer:
"To you O Spirit of Truth, I consecrate my mind, imagination and memory.
To you, O Sanctifying Spirit, I consecrate my will, guide me in your Will.
To you, O life-giving Spirit, I consecrate my heart. Guard and increase the divine life in me."
The Holy Spirit formed Jesus in Mary. Together with Mary and the Holy Spirit, Jesus will be formed in us and grow in us. In this way Galatians 4:19 will come true in all of us.