"Patience obtains all things." St. Teresa of Avila
These have been the days of waiting. Fr. Dennis, the associate pastor at our parish very often tells me that God's answer to prayer is frequently one word… “Wait”. I think that Fr. Dennis is right and that this is God’s standard answer to the prayers of this very impatient girl. God keeps telling me "Not yet, not yet, slow down, everything has a season, and this autumn, my dear friend, is not the season for you.”
I have my heart set on beginning an Apostolate for Spiritual Motherhood in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. After reading about Spiritual Motherhood on so many wonderful blogs, I was sure that God had set this on my heart as my special calling. At first when I began to ponder this calling, I felt completely overwhelmed. Who am I but a simple mother and nutritionist, what do I know about Spiritual Motherhood and beginning apostolates? This is just beyond my ability, there is no way that God could be calling me to this. I thought that maybe I was bordering on mental illness with grandiose visions of greatness, thinking about such a fabulously huge endeavor. So I resigned myself to what I’ve always done, that is, to pray for priests on my own. But having the nature of a chatterbox, I couldn’t seem to shut myself up about the whole concept of Spiritual Motherhood and every person to whom I mentioned it all seemed to be intrigued and excited about it as well, so I remained encouraged.
Then, through what I believe was the intervention of God, I met my friend Marge. I told her the same thing I told everyone else. “I’d love to start a Spiritual Motherhood Apostolate for priests in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, but I’ve no clue about how to begin, and really, I don’t need an apostolate to pray for priests, I do that anyway.” At that, Marge sat straight up in her chair and she said, “We’re going to do this, you and I! We’re going to establish an Apostolate of Spiritual Motherhood for Priests in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and we are going to see to it that every bishop, priest, religious brother and seminarian is assigned a Spiritual Mother who will pray for them. We can do it!” She was so confident and her assurance easily rubbed off on me and energized me. I foresaw a day in the near future, before the end of the Year of the Priest, when 800 women would readily sign up to adopt one of our holy men in Milwaukee as her spiritual son.
It wasn’t long after this conversation when I met someone who I thought could really help us move things along. Dick and Terry Boldin head up the very successful Rosary Evangelization Apostolate in Milwaukee and when I shared my idea with them, they were also very excited about it and agreed to help. I felt that this was a sign from God that He very much wanted this Apostolate and I knew that if anyone had the connections and expertise to help get this endeavor off the ground, Dick and Terry were the ones!
But now, we’ve officially hit our first roadblock, one that honestly, we anticipated from the beginning. Our Archdiocese has no Archbishop. It’s been six long months since Archbishop Dolan left Milwaukee for New York (can you feel the moisture from my teardrops falling through the keyboard as I type this? He is still terribly missed here!) Bishop Callahan is doing an outstanding job holding things together, but he does not have the authority to give his blessing to a new apostolate. So, until we have a new Archbishop, the Spiritual Motherhood is going nowhere! As Dick so wisely reminded Marge and I, we are not to become discouraged, because this is God’s will. We are to accept this in obedience to church authority. He’s right.
But I’m afraid that discouragement must be my middle name, because I can’t help from being discouraged! Wouldn’t God want this, I wonder? But then again, who am I to know God’s will? I am reminded of one of my favorite movies that my mom and I used to watch every Christmas when I was little, “The Bells of St. Mary’s”. Do you remember how desperately those nuns needed a new school for the students? They prayed that God would give them the building that was being built next door. As their hopes were being raised that this might actually happen, they all agreed to lift their voices in prayer and one of the nuns wisely stated, “God’s will be done.” Then the Mother Superior chimed in, “And may God’s will be our will.” Ooh, that part always got on my mom’s nerves! “That is NOT the way to pray!” she would say. “We are to pray for God’s will in all things, never for our own will! That's sacrilegious!” Of course, she was right.
So I turn to St. Monica and St. Francis de Sales who were both well known for their extreme patience. I ask them to guide me in the art of patient, hope-filled and prayerful waiting without the pain of discouragement. I also ask them to pray for me so that I will become enlightened about God’s will in this matter and to give Dick, Terry, Marge and I the fortitude to continue the work once our new Archbishop is assigned and gives his go-ahead for this very important Apostolate. And I ask you, dear reader, to join me in prayer for our beloved Pope, all bishops, priests, brothers, seminarians and those discerning a call to the priesthood. May our voices, united in a prayer of love for these holy men, inspire them and encourage them to continue their wonderful service to God and to all of humanity.