Monthly Spiritual Exercise Group
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Our Refuge and Our Help: Spiritual Exercise 09/20/21

Please join us Monday 08/09/21 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MDT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EDT) Please ask for technical assistance BEFORE we begin, as the silent reflection is a critical element in the spiritual exercise. Thank you so much. 

Zoom Link: https://us05web.zoom.us/j/4537185699?pwd=emRVOEZwMTY1eGN1bzYrU2VldWhiZz09

Meeting ID: 4537185699

Opening Prayer: The Memorare

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. 

Amen

Our Refuge and Our Help

I have always felt that the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima has far deeper significance for us than we tend to understand. Let’s look at it in light of current events.

We have witnessed a variety of calamities in these last weeks: weather, war, natural and manmade catastrophes, and escalating strife on myriad fronts. When tribulation hits, it can be easy to forget essentials. It’s almost impossible to anticipate every possibility, and so we are often unprepared for the kind of trial that ends up hitting us. But once it does, fear and panic can become so powerful that all our speculative, premeditated plans of behavior are drowned out in the tsunami of those emotions. The apostles witness this during Jesus’ Paschal sufferings and death. They are so traumatized by what is happening, so overwhelmed by fear and grief, that they cannot move except to run away. 

Jesus tells us on several occasions to be vigilant and pray that we can withstand the test that comes to all who follow Him. It’s best, therefore, to have some simple yet powerful reminders to anchor ourselves with so that spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically we have an interior refuge ready ahead of time. One we know works. 

The special refuge Jesus has given us in these end times is Our Blessed Mother. The Beloved disciple John recognized this during Christ’s Sacred Passion, and it is the only reason he was able to go back to be with Jesus amid His indescribable tortures and brutalization at the hands of the Roman soldiers. John found the courage and the grace in Our Lady, and with Her, was able to return and withstand the martyrdom of the spirit that came to both of them.

In all of her many apparitions, the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima is perhaps the defining moment for trust in Our Lady’s intercessory powers. Imagine the sun starting to spin and fall toward the earth as you watch. Imagine, for that matter, seeing an approaching comet in the sky, knowing it is headed for direct impact with the earth. Imagine watching missiles light up the sky in aggressions unleashed by foreign powers. Imagine the direst scenarios and what possible hope one could have in the face of forces so beyond our control. 

But then remember Our Lady’s interventions, aside from Fatima, just in this last century. Both Austria and the Philippines experienced liberation from powerful oppressive forces which inexplicably withdrew or were peaceably removed, without a drop of blood being spilled, after the people united and committed to praying the rosary for said intentions. 

It took three years for Russia to inexplicably pull out of Austria, a strategic location for them, and one year for the oppressive dictatorship of the Marcos regime to dissolve. And perhaps the only difference in timing was the number of people praying the rosary (70,000 in Austria and millions in the Philippines.). As we’ve said before, the events in the Philippines inspired a Marian year for the whole world. A short time after the conclusion of the Marian Year (1988), the Iron Curtain fell and the Soviet Union dissolved, events the secular press still cannot explain.

As our world shows deeper and deeper signs of spinning out of control, we know who has been entrusted with our care in a unique way, who has been telling us the remedy to all our evils, and who will hold a space open for us in her heart no matter what comes. If we haven’t listened to her counsels yet or have failed to live the life we are called to by Her Son, we yet have a place to run to, even though it be the eleventh hour. May we remember that, especially if we find ourselves on the verge of losing hope in the face of some unthinkable happening. Our Blessed Mother is our sure helper, advocate, refuge, and hope!

PS (I was alerted to another example of Our Lady’s intervention in the past century in Brazil in the early 1950’s.  Russia attempted to infiltrate and push communism in Brazil but the women of Brazil recognized the danger and organized massive street Rosaries which were attended by  hundreds of thousands of people.  Needless to say, Russia’s attempt was no match for the power of the Rosary and Our Blessed Mother’s intervention.  Their efforts failed before taking root.) 

I feel there is no more important relationship to develop and be close to at this time, than the relationship with Our Lady.  Many prophecies hold dire predictions of what awaits the world.  Yet the enduring promise though all of it is that Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart will triumph and, through her intercession, the world will be saved and brought back to a vibrant Christianity.  This does not mean that we do not need to prepare for the exceptional trials that await us.  But to have the strength of faith to go through them well we need to stay very close to Her and follow her counsel.  How do you do that in your own life?  Is your relationship with her living or pietistical habit only?

How might you introduce others to Our Lady’s special love for them?  How would you help them to understand her as a refuge for them especially in times of great suffering and fear?  And what might your prayer to Our Lady be like for them?

Our biggest struggles often come when fear and anxiety overwhelm us.  Yet God does not want us to be fearful.  In our natural lives, we often ran to our mothers for comfort and reassurance and counsel on what to do.  The Beloved disciple had many singular graces the others didn’t precisely because of this kind of closeness to Our Lady.  One can’t do better than imitate Jesus in entrusting themselves to Her.  If She were to appear to you right now, what do you think She would ask you to do personally to be strengthened for the trials that await everyone who follows Her Son?

As a mother, how do you think Our Lady sees those who have given themselves deliberately over to evil?  How do you see them? Is your attitude toward them compatible with Our Lady’s?  

This entry was posted in: Monthly Spiritual Exercise Group

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Facing Our Immortality Cancer Ministry Facing Our Immortality is a cancer outreach ministry for those affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly. We desire for you a sense of community and renewal through Christ, supported by monthly virtual support groups as well as specialized retreats. Future retreats will take place at Domus Trinitatis https://www.homeofthetrinity.com/ Peace and Grace.

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