Thursday, March 07, 2013

Prayer for the Church

O Lord Jesus Christ, Supreme Pastor of Your Church, we thank you for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI and the selfless care with which he has led us as Successor of 
Peter, and Your Vicar on earth.  Good Shepherd, who founded Your Church on the rock of Peter's faith and have never left Your flock untended, look with love
upon us now, and sustain Your Church in faith, hope, and charity.

Grant, Lord Jesus, in Your boundless love for us, a new Pope for Your Church who will please You by his holiness and lead us faithfully to You,
who are the same yesterday, today, and forever.


March 20th and 27th-both Wednesday nights are wonderful nights in the diocese of Dallas during the Season of Lent 2013.  It is called Leave the Lights On and every Catholic parish in the diocese will be open and have extra priests to make sure that folks who have not taken the time to go to Confession for say-the last 10, 15, 20, or more years-can come home and find the joy and the gladness we find from making a good confession, and receiving the Absolution for our sins through Jesus Christ Our Lord.  If you have not been this year, or forever-Come Home-We will Leave the Lights On for You.

The Story goes that Maria and her mother were very close in the little village in Ecuador.  It was just the two of them, it had always been just the two of them and they loved each other very much.

They were poor-just a two room little huddle that had always been their home.  Very sparse, but very clean.  They ate simply but well.  Maria's mother worked long hours to provide the sustenance that they did have-and she never complained.  She made daily mass as had Maria done when she was younger.  But, now that Maria was getting older, even though they lived in a small village--the allure of the world was not unknown.  At school she would see magazines and hear stories.  At the local market where she was able to have a after school job, she saw advertisements and heard the radio that piped through the store, and even saw some television in the break-room.
Maria was almost 18 and she began to be more and more wistful about a life away from this simplicity-the city and all the allure that it had to offer.

Maria was allowed to keep the little she made after school and unknown to her Mama she had saved enough to have a bus ticket to the city that was 4 hours away.
At night by candlelight she would count her coins over and over and over and dream of making it to the city-she could see the beautiful people, and taste the beautiful foods, and go the most beautiful places, and after she got work and saved, she could buy for herself the most beautiful clothes and have the most beautiful things.

On her birthday, her mother made her favorite foods,and they laughed with the neighbors who came by to bless her--they sang songs and had their prayers and her mother gave her a lovely but simple blue dress she had saved to get for her daughter-it was a lovely day.  The next day Maria wore her dress and went by the little photo booth at the market-deposited her coins and out popped 5 little candied shots of her in her new blue dress.  She brought home the pictures and a lovely bouquet of flowers she picked for her mom, and left these on the small table with a note--Mama, do not be angry and do not be sad.  You know I have longed for more and I have to follow my dream.  I have taken the five o clock bus to the city.  I have a little money-I will get a job-I will make it and will send word soon with my address and tell you all my adventures.  Love, Maria.

Her mother came home to a dark and empty house, she read the note and fell to the floor in a torrent  of tears. In her sorrow and pain she cried out to God.
It was too late to do anything that night, but to pray a fitful night through telling the beads-calling out to the Holy Family.
The next morning she knew what to do.  She grabbed the little savings she had, packed a small bag, and went and bought her ticket to the city.  Then she took the pictures of her darling Maria-the only pictures she had of her with her and boarded the bus.  As soon as she got to the city the first thing she did was to find a place who could make copies-many copies of the small pictures of Maria.  She bought as many as she could-and then she spent the next three days going to all the run down, seedy places that girls like Maria who had no experience, no money, and no skills ended up--these places are known in every city.  In each and every place she quietly slipped in and in every womens room, on every bulletin board, by every wall phone, and by every back door--she wrote something on the back of a picture-and tacked it up.  100's of pictures in so many places.  And then with money all gone, and beads in hand-prayers on her lips, she went home.

Weeks went by, and still she prayed, lit candles, and implored the priest to remember Maria in his daily masses.
And everyday-she would make sure she was at the 5 o clock bus waiting to see if Maria got off the bus.
And after many weeks-on an ordinary day-the bus door opens-and there is Maria in her blue dress clutching the picture of herself-as someone would clutch a treasured prayer card or a saint. She sees her Mama, she runs into her opened arms and with bitter tears now joyful tears of being received with such love--she buries her head in her Mama's neck and melts into her Mother's love-and the picture tumbles out of her fingers and falls to the ground backside up.

In her night of passion, the Loving Father had given her the words-she knew that when things got bad and her daughter was looking for a way of escape, that she would notice a picture of herself.  She also knew that her pride would keep her from returning home and until she had endured all she could to make her dreams come true.
On the back of every picture the Mother had written these words-Whatever you have done, whoever you have been with, whatever you have become--it does not matter-I love you Maria, Come Home.  Mama.

This is Lent-our time to increase our prayers, our self-denying, and our alms giving to the poor. A time to reflect on our lives--a time to remember that He Leaves the Light on for us-Come Home, You are loved-Come Home.

St Ann's Knights talk
March 7, 2013