Leaning on the Everlasting Arms of Love

By Sr. Donna Fannon, MHSH

(This post is part 3 in a six part series on “To Love Like Jesus: A Spirituality of the Heart”.  Each week, we will post a reflection based on the Litany of the Heart by Wendy M. Wright.  To read the Litany, click here.  As Women of the Heart, the Mission Helper Sisters invite you to pray and reflect with us during the next 3 weeks, as we publish one reflection each week on this rich and inviting spirituality).With us, ponder:

What would it mean to love like Jesus?
What would it mean to have a heart like his?

Where do you go when you need a helping hand and no one is around, or no one understands what you are going through.  Maybe you have experienced a major disappointment, lost a job or were turned down for a promotion.  Perhaps you feel alone, lost, confused, hopeless, unloved, or you do not know what to do or where to go.

 Do you remember that Jesus, the visual image of the Trinity, is always approachable and ready to lavish grace and love on anyone who asks?  The title of this reflection comes, in part, from an old spiritual that was popular in the days when pioneers were setting into the Southern and Western parts of the United States.  It was a long and dangerous undertaking.  Many travelers put their trust in God and hoped to survive the journey.  Where else could they put it?

 The section of the Litany of the Heart I choose to explore (eighth stanza) is near the end.  It highlights some qualities that Jesus can share with each of us in our life journey.  In fact, the entire Trinity wants to participate in this outpouring of grace.

 Here’s what the litany might suggest:

 Be our refuge when we feel alone, confused, and away from home.

 Be our shelter when we feel rejected, misunderstood, lost.

 Be our comfort when we don’t know where to go, or what to do when we are sick, confused or weary.

 Be our rest when we try too hard, are lost and alone along the way.

 Be our welcome breast when there seems to be nowhere to go, when we are hungry and cold.

 

 For reflection: What graces do you desire from God?  Do you ask in confidence?

 

Day 7: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

week_of_prayer_logo_216wDay 7, Hospitality for Prayer

Scripture

  • Isaiah 62:6-7, Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have posted sentinels; all day and all night they shall never be silent.
  • Psalm 100, Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness.
  • 1 Peter 4:7b-10, Be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers.
  • John 4:4-14, The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.

Meditation

As long as God’s people are divided, and Christians are estranged from one another, we are like Jesus in Samaria, strangers in a foreign land, without safety, without refreshment and without a place of rest.

The people of Israel longed for a place of safety where they could worship the Lord. Isaiah tells us of the Lord’s mighty act; he posted sentinels on the walls of Jerusalem so that his people could worship him in safety day and night.

In the Week of Prayer our churches and chapels become places of safety, rest and refreshment for people to join in prayer. The challenge from this week is to create more places and protected times of prayer, because as we pray together, we become one people.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you asked your apostles to stay awake with you and to pray with you. May we offer the world protected times and spaces in which to find refreshment and peace, so that praying together with other Christians we may come to know you more deeply. Amen.

For Reflection:

  • How can we promote mutual hospitality among parishes and congregations in our locality?
  • Is there a place in our neighborhood where Christians from different traditions can gather in prayer, and if not can we help to create such a place?

Source: Greymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute

Come Aside and Rest

A Reflection by Sister Mariel Ann Rafferty

It is a cold, brisk winter day.  I have paused at this bench in the courtyard of our Mission Helper Center.  Not too long ago, I sat on this bench as I grieved the death of Sister Helen Hiehle, my dearest friend of 43 years.  The bench became a special place for me in the deepening realization of Helen’s joy in seeing the face of God.

I wonder how many people have sat here during the spring and summer months…a few teens preparing for confirmation, perhaps…someone receiving guidance from a spiritual director…a novice meditating on her call to serve God….A Sister Jubilarian reflecting on her sixty or more years as a Mission Helper…a mother concerned about her teenage children…. someone praying for the courage to approach another for reconciliation…a young man or woman discerning a call to become a missionary!

Countless people have sat here with others, or alone in silence, to experience God’s presence and the whisper of God’s voice.

Listen!  Is Jesus inviting you to “Come aside and rest awhile”?  Come!  In your imagination, sit awhile on this bench with Jesus.  Take a few minutes to speak with Him in this sacred place and be sure to listen.

You will be surprised at all that stirs within your heart!