First, I have to make an important announcement to introduce to you our newest faculty member at Divine Mercy School. Mr. Joe Grant recently accepted the position as teacher for our 5th-6th grade classroom, taking the place of Mr. Joe Linder who became principal. Mr. Grant graduated from Bluffton University in May 2014 with a Bachelor’s in Biblical and Theological Studies and is currently working on his Master’s of Divinity from Moody Theological Seminary. He has worked as a job coach/day service provider for adults with developmental disabilities. Most recently he worked as a tutor for individual students and small groups at Wayne Trace Payne Elementary. He also filled in as a substitute teacher for classrooms at Payne Elementary. Mr. Grant lives in Van Wert with his wife Heather and daughter Ruby. He had a fine interview with us, and he has come highly recommended.
Next, I want to thank you for your prayers during my recent pilgrimage-vacation. It was a vacation, but at the same time it was an exploration for future pilgrimages that could be led by Catholic Faith Journeys, the company of Margie McDaniel, who organized our February pilgrimage to Italy. I visited the sites of St. Isidore (Madrid), St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila (Toledo, Avila, Segovia) and St. Ignatius of Loyola (Loyola, Manresa, Montserrat and Barcelona). What follows is a “God-moment” that happened just as I was leaving for the trip.
Only minutes before I was leaving for Spain, I decided to look for some prayer cards that come with my Spanish breviary (the prayer book a priest is committed to praying each day). The cards were not in the volume I was using. I looked through the other volumes, and in the last volume I found the prayer cards. But, to my surprise, I found the summary prayer that I had written at the end of my 30-day Ignatian retreat back in 1997. What a find! I thought I had lost that summary prayer forever. That prayer encompasses what I think the Lord did with me during that retreat. Here I was, about to head to Spain to visit the sites of St. Ignatius, whose retreat had been so transformative for me 19 years earlier, and I “happen upon” that prayer meditation summarizing the Lord’s work in me. I took that prayer with me, and I prayed it in Loyola, in the family castle of St. Ignatius, in the very room where he finally handed his life over to the Lord, as he was convalescing. That room is where Ignatius started his journey to sainthood. Here is that prayer meditation I wrote. Perhaps you will find something useful in it. It certainly gives you a big look into the spirituality of your pastor, so it might be helpful even from that perspective:
God the Almighty Father, who delights in me – a manifold sinner – is inviting me to love Him by joining all of myself to the Sacrificial Heart of His Son Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. This especially means giving my wounds to the Father and trusting in His goodness as I hang with abandon, and at times feel abandoned, on the Cross. The wounds are, in fact, a gift from Him.
The Blessed Virgin Mary is standing nearby to show me how to abide with the Holy Spirit in sorrow and in joy. Under Her constant gaze, with Her companionship, I will learn in this school of Love that the Cross is.
I am able to accept and enter into this school of the Cross, because I have known the gracious and infinite love of God who has given me every blessing. To Him whose generosity can never be outdone, I can do no less than offer my life – appropriating His grace through as disciplined a lifestyle as I am able – and ask that He take it to Himself and let it be consumed in the fire that He is. If my life be so joined to His love, I hope and pray that the fire within me stir the life of heaven in others, and in that way cause heaven to be poured out upon earth.
Glory to the Most Holy Trinity for creating and redeeming me! Glory to the Most Holy Trinity in both consolation and desolation! Glory to the Transcendent Beauty that draws me! “Oh God, Thou are my God, I seek Thee, my soul thirsts for Thee… So I have looked upon Thee in the sanctuary, beholding Thy power and glory” (Psalm 63).
So there is the prayer. It still brings back many of the graces of that retreat for me. The 30-day Ignatian retreat (in almost complete silence, except for a 20-minute meeting with a director each day) was by far the most consoling time of my entire life. This is one of the reasons it was such a privilege to visit some of St. Igantius’ sites in Spain. I hope you find something useful in this prayer for your own life in the Lord.
On another note, please remember that the YDisciple summer kick-off happens Sunday, July 31st. The event is for everybody in the family, really – but especially incoming and current high school students and their parents. It would very helpful to have a count of those who are attending, so that we plan enough food. Please talk with those high school men and women who should be considering Ydisciple; and please call the office to let us know you will be there. Every high school student should at least give it a try. Once I know how many we will have in the program – based on this kick-off event – I will calculate whether we have to train some new small-group leaders for new groups. Perhaps we will be able to fit everybody into existing groups, however. We will see. If you know of somebody I ought to approach to consider being a small-group leader, please let me know.
Thanks again to everybody who made the Marcus Grodi fundraising event a success. I am proud of and impressed with everybody that made it happen, even with the pastor away on vacation!
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,