Dear Brothers & Sisters,
We are currently looking to expand our ministries here in the parish. Besides the ministries we have had for years (St. Vincent De Paul, Bible Study, Knights of Columbus, Cenacle, Adult Choir, Neocatechumenal Way), we are working to add a few more to the list. We are in the process of creating a Task Force to respond to the needs of the community, Hospitality ministry, youth group, talks for parents, series of lectures, and expanding our adult faith formation, among other things. However, this cannot be done without prayer. It is important to pray both for God to guide us, but also to ask God what our place in the parish should be.
Throughout the Bible we see stories of the characters who place their desires before God. Even Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane tells God, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” (Mt. 26:39). In the prayer of Our Father we always pray for the will of God to be done on earth as it is in heaven. The Virgin Mary replies to Gabriel the Archangel, “May it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38). Therefore, our first step is to place these desires we have in the hands of God. Lord, if it is your will, please open the door and help us to develop these ministries so that your love and mercy reach out to other people. It is important to understand that everything has its time according to God’s plan, not ours. How many times can we get frustrated that things just don’t work, regardless of our dedication and time? Then, all of the sudden, it just happens? Surely things won’t fall from the sky, but in everything we do, it is imperative to ask God if what we are about to do is His will. Then, I urge all of you to please add these intentions in your daily prayer. It will be like starting a campaign with God, so that the whole parish prays for the same intention. If it is the will of God, and all of us intercede together, then the ideas will come out of the paper and God will make them fruitful in due time.
Now, there is a second element to the whole project. The first step is to find out if it is the will of God for us to do all these things. The second is what will be our personal role in all of it. What we are doing is not Fr. Steven’s project or something alienated from our lives. God has led you to this parish to be part of everything that is happening. For some people their role will be praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament for the youth every day. However, this is not up for us to decide. Maybe God has planned that you will help with the hospitality ministry or something else. As the two quotes above say, let it NOT be what we want. The Virgin Mary in the sentence before the quote says, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” This is a way of saying, “Lord, I’m your servant command me to do something and I will do it.” In this process of discernment, we will start praying and you will feel an inclination to join one group or another, whether something new or already existing. Sometimes it can get tricky to discern between our desire and the will of God. That is why I’m encouraging you today to ask the Lord what He invites us to do. “Be done to me according to your will.” We can all try to start a campaign to PRAY THE ROSARY DAILY for this intention. If you already pray one, maybe pray a second one asking the Lord specifically for this. Only when we open our hearts is when the Lord can enter and speak to us. Remember the story of Samuel, who woke up when he heard his name called and he thought that it was Eli? (1 Samuel 3). Scripture says that Samuel didn’t recognize the LORD, because “the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.” (3:7). Then Eli, recognizing this, instructs the young man to reply to the Lord when He calls by saying, “SPEAK, LORD, FOR YOUR SERVANT IS LISTENING.” (3:9). LET US ALL PRAY THESE WORDS, IN ADDITION TO THE ROSARY, FOR THE NEXT MONTH UNTIL THE FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. Let’s ask that the Lord may speak to our hearts and guide us in this time of discernment. Please pray also for us priests that we may follow the will of God faithfully and steadfast.
Father Steven Clemence