Please join us Monday 11/8/21 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm ET) Please ask for technical assistance BEFORE we begin, as the silent reflection is a critical element in the spiritual exercise. Blessings.
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.
These days, many of us have a common prayer. That would be a prayer for some kind of divine intervention to halt the frightening directions our world seems to be headed in. And what would the ultimate purpose of that intervention be? Simply stopping evil isn’t enough.
When we seriously reflect on it, intervention is something God regularly does in our lives and has done throughout human history while mysteriously respecting our human freedom and entrusting to us a measure of power appropriate to our spheres of activity.
The Old Testament is replete with examples of divine intervention dramatically recounted in stories like the Flood, the Exodus, the great stories of battles won by drastically outnumbered forces. The greatest of all interventions, the coming of Christ, of God in person into human history is again a striking indication of God’s will to be intimately involved without forcing us in anyway.
Today we could also characterize the many approved apparitions of Our Lady as examples of Divine Intervention. Likewise, we can consider the Church herself as another example of a divinely inspired gift given to us for all the needs we encounter on our journey back home to the Father. (Pope St. John Paul II called Vatican Council II an intervention of God in human history. And many such events in the Church can be considered likewise.
But another way to look at this is to consider that each of us is meant to be a kind of divine intervention in the time and place in which we live. Each of us is tasked with specific work for the souls of our age, though this is not necessarily something obvious or dramatic in the eyes of the world. The classic Christmas film, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” captures this quite movingly. George Bailey, the main character, is part of a terrible turn of events that brings him to contemplate suicide attempt on Christmas Eve. An angel, albeit a bumbling one (not that there is really such a thing), is sent to help him see the truth. George considers his life a failure because over and over again he has had to give up his dreams to help his family and the community he lives in. But Clarence, (the angel) shows him that he has actually protected and prospered the lives of all those he has served. George is shown what Bedford Falls would have become had he never lived, or if he had made other choices than the ones he did. He sees a town, and his loved ones, shrouded in depressing darkness and oppression, one that did the opposite of prospering. This revelation breaks the grip of his desperation and despair. He rightly comes to understand that he is fulfilling the meaning of the life given to him though till now it has been hidden.
The measure of our impact is mysterious because what counts in God’s eyes is so different than what we think matters. Mark Twain once famously said: “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” This same lesson was one that Esther from the Old Testament learned and lived in the midst of the threat of the extinction of her people. By Divine Providence, she alone was in a position to intervene. She was encouraged to be faithful to this fearful responsibility by her Uncle Mordecai who reminded her that she herself would not escape the fate of her people if she failed to act. He stressed that it was likely that “for such a time as this” she was born.
In our fears and anxieties for the present age, it is worth remembering that God knew, when He gave us the breath of life, what we would face, both individually (family difficulties, matters of health, etc…) and communally (civil unrest and nations increasingly at odds with each other). Yet He chose this time nonetheless for us to make a difference. The question we must ask ourselves is what that difference is, and how we are going to live it out.
Please take 5-10 minutes for silent reflection
1. The fact is, the impact our lives make is not measured by the difficulties we face or the situation we find ourselves in. God’s grace is not dependent on these kinds of things. In fact, sometimes the worst situations end up bringing down the greatest graces. Can you think of examples of this?
2. What kinds of positive impact do you think you’ve made in your own life? God has placed us in many different situations where we have the potential to change things for the better by our presence. What do you think is the key to having a positive effect on others?
3. What is the greatest kind of impact you can have in another’s life? And how does that affect your own life?
4. Have you ever felt that your life was not meaningful in any important way? How does God want you to see your life? What does He expect of us really?
May your heart fill with immense love as we journey through November, a month of Holy devotion to all who have passed before us.
Our next session will be during the Blessed Advent Season, on December 13, 2021. It is almost unbelievable that we will soon embark on Christmastime. God Bless you.
Love and Blessings