Friday, January 02, 2009


New Year

All religious communities but especially contemplative monastic ones have long held traditions preserved and continued because they effusively refocus lives to settle again, even more deliberately, on what is central to our way of life. St. Gerard Majella

One of our customs is to receive by random selection a Patron, Title of Mary, Prayer Intention and Spiritual Practice for spiritual emphasis for the new year. In a sort of 'Holy Spirit Lottery' I received:

St. Gerard Majella for Patron

The Redemptorist General Chapter 2009 for Prayer Intention

Mystical Rose for Title of Mary

The following excerpt from our Rule as Spiritual Practice:

41. Our Vocation of prayer in the Church is to live-out the unceasing prayer of Christ and to make our own this essential element of His redemptive mission. That is why we must live in a climate of intimacy with the Lord and of silent intercession for the salvation of the world.

I am afraid I must admit that I have yet to develop a relationship with St. Gerard, the most well-known of Redemptorist saints. He was a brother in the congregation during the lifetime of St. Alphonsus. He was very fond of our foundress Mother Maria Celeste Crostarosa and sought permission from Alphonsus to visit her at her monastery in Foggia. When she died he said he had seen her soul fly to heaven. Although he is most famous today as the patron of expectant mothers, his intercession is sought for all kinds of needs and intentions. I guess this is the year for me to get to know him better.

The title of Mystical Rose for our Blessed Mother reminds me of the Christmas carol Lo How a Rose Ere Blooming, a long time favorite of mine. "It came a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter" says the song. All of us experience days of dark and cold, an image I get from the carol, yet we are told that in such conditions a rose did bloom. That is the miracle I must ponder.

It will require no great effort to pray for the Redemptorist General Chapter. Our brother Redemptorists are so generous to us that we cannot help but be interested in and try to support in prayer all of their missions and activities. These are critical days for all religious congregations so we invoke the guidance of the Holy Spirit to work powerfully during their deliberations.

The practice of unceasing prayer and the cultivation of silent intimacy with the Lord requires daily dedication and commitment. If one does not believe in the power of intercessory prayer than one cannot comprehend at all the meaning and importance of the contemplative vocation. This is our life.

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