Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gratitude For My Many Fathers

"Why should we not be holy, we who are inebriated with the Life Blood of God's Holy One?" ~Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, sP

It has been five years since my natural father died. My dad was a good and holy man and while he physically lived on earth, his influence upon me was quiet. I called him "Silent Man." He always rose early and silently began his days in prayer, and then he quietly returned to prayer throughout the day for all of his nine children. He wasn't a perfect man, to be sure, but he was a good man and it was from him that I learned to pray, to give my all to God.

Today I have many fathers. My life is touched by so many good and holy men, all of them priests of God. These men are like my natural father because they also rise early to silently embrace the beginning of the day in prayer and they quietly return to prayer throughout the day for all of their many children, unlimited in number. They might not be perfect men, to be sure, but they are good men and from them I continue to learn how to pray, to give my all to God.

How I love my fathers! I love them for their sacrifices, for their words of wisdom, for their prayerful example, and for their steady presence in my life. I love them because they care about my soul and they show their love for me by holding me in prayer. I love them because they give Christ to me in the Holy Eucharist, the Body and Precious Blood of the Lord. I love them because they are the Body and Precious Blood of the Lord. My many fathers give me all that I need in this life so as to lead me safely to my heavenly home with God, my true and eternal Father.

I long to return the favor. I want to sacrifice for them, to share some words of wisdom like they do, to set an example of prayer for others and to be a steady presence in the lives of my own children. And so I begin with prayer. Each day in the early morning hours I silently embrace the beginning of the day in prayer just like my many fathers. I collect myself before the Sacred Heart of Jesus and I offer Him my day for the sanctity and well-being of these men that I love, these men that have personally touched my life. My fathers need prayer and love! They need to know that they are loved. So I place their names within the greatest love of all-the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He loves them best for they are His sons. They are His other self. They give so much-they give their precious time spent without cost until they reach exhaustion, they give their love and they give their prayers. They work side by side with all of their children for the sole purpose of building up the Kingdom of God. I have only to look to my fathers and I see Him. So, with a grateful heart I pray for my fathers by name. I pray for...

...Pope Benedict, Archbishop Dolan, Archbishop Listecki, Bishop Hying, Fr. Jim Kubicki, SJ, Fr. Carl Last, Fr. Dave Cooper, Fr. Dan Felton, Fr. Joe Lubrano, SDS, Fr. Dan Murphy, Fr. Dennis Witz, Fr. Paul Stanosz, Fr. Peter Berger, Fr. Phil Hurley, SJ, Fr. Jim Lobacz, Fr. John Endejan, Fr. Edward Radey, Fr. Matthew Widder , Fr. Luke Strand, Fr. Christopher Klusman, Fr. Kevin McManaman...and the list grows...each year at ordination I gain more fathers to love...there are so many on the way! I pray for the seminarians at St. Francis de Sales Seminary by name as well, and I pray for those in discernment, and for the mothers of my fathers-those lovely women who nurtured these men from conception... And I pray for my spiritual son, John Howard, who is studying to be a father in far away England....And I pray for all of the priests of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and encourage others to do so as well through the Monthly Prayer Request for Priests...and I pray for an increase in good and holy vocations to the priesthood with Roses for Our Lady at our monthly holy hour for vocations...but it is never enough. I want to give them so much more; I want to give them something radical and beautiful. I want to give them my entire life and all of my prayer.

And so on October 27th, in the intimacy of my home and in the presence of my husband and children, one of my many fathers, Fr. Jim Kubicki, SJ will offer Mass and will officiate at a ceremony in which I will be accepted as a candidate for the Oblates of the Precious Blood. This will be the beginning of a year-long period of formation before I make a Solemn Resolution of Love. As an Oblate of the Precious Blood I will be under the heavenly and spiritual guidance of another father, Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, sP, the founder of the Handmaids of the Precious Blood, with whom I will be received into union and affiliation, and I hope to become "leaven in the world, suffering and offering all aspects of my life for the glory of God and the sanctification of priests." Please pray for me as I deepen my prayers of love for all priests, my many fathers, and join me in praying for all priests, everywhere.

Prayer of the Candidate

O God, I desire to make a perfect return of love to You by dedicating my life to the Precious Blood of Jesus and to the sanctification of Priests who offer the Precious Blood to You each day in countless Masses. Because the Eucharist is "the greatest Gift of the Sacred Heart," I wish for You, Jesus, to be the center of my spiritual life, my complete joy, a joy which no one can take from me. I pray, too, for the grace to render earnestly and well my preparation for making a Solemn Resolution of Love as an Oblate of the Precious Blood, if this be according to Your will. I ask these graces through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary; of St. Joseph, Patron of Your Church; of the holy Apostles who were the first Priests; and of my Guardian Angel. Amen.

O Mary, Protectress of the hierarchy of holy Church obtain for us holy priests who will glorify God and save souls. Mary, Queen of the Clergy, pray for us. Amen.

(above quotes are by Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, sP and the Prayer of the Candidate is from the Ceremony of Enrollment as a Candidate for the Oblates of the Precious Blood)

1 comment:

  1. Dear Anne,

    Congratulations on this beautiful journey you have begun for love of Our Blessed Lord Jesus and His priests. I know you will work tirelessly for your "fathers." You do not strike me as one who does anything by halves!

    I know from my experience in Carmel, that it is a wonderful thing to have a distinct focus in your spiritual life -- it frees one from trying to be everything at once and enables a deep concentration on an area which truly resonates with the individual soul.

    I think you are already a beautiful leaven in the world, but now your beloved priests will benefit all the more.

    God bless you, dear Anne! I hope you will share a bit about the ceremony, and update your friends here on your journey along the way.

    Congrats and a big hug to you,