Some choose to pray late at night, while some early in the morning.
And some choose to keep vigil in the middle of the night. Each
in a hermitage follows their grace.
When we leave our beds to go to our places of prayer, we are leaving
one place of rest to go to another, where we hear echo in us the words of
the Lord in the Gospel, " Come to me all you who are weary and carry
heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."
We have to lift all up to God, all the prayer requests we have received, the needs of
the church, and the world. The prayer of night has its own
reality unfolding around us, and within us. Half the world is asleep in the
darkness, and half-awake in the light, but largely unaware of Jesus,
the true light of the world.
We are standing in the middle of all this in our spoken and sung prayers.
In all the secret prayers of our heart, as a bridge between a church and
world often in crisis, in one prayer, above all else is offered " Whatever is done
on earth today, may it be done in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
In us, all of humanity lives. When we pray, all humanity prays and turns to God.
If we do not pray, the opposite happens. One hour of prayer in these live-giving
hours, and all humanity can be gathered in, and lifted up to God.
These life-giving prayers spread out from our hermitages to the four corners of the earth,
gathering all in. It knows not the physical boundaries of the distance of miles. And so,
two souls at the opposite ends of the world can be side by side.
A complaint that we often hear from people on their journey of prayer is
that they do not feel anything; nothing seems to be happening.
They think they are making no progress in their journey of prayer.
People confuse all this with the supposed absence of God in their life.
God is always there in the depths of the soul loving us. This is not dependent on our
feelings that come and pass like the weather or the seasons.
What we often feel is time wasted, or nothing going on, however, later in the journey
when we look back, we are able to see the hand of God at work in those
quiet hours building foundations for the next steps of our journey.
This world in all its noise and rush has forgotten how to wait on God.
People today are in such a hurry they do not lay the foundations, and want the
roof on first. Learning to wait on God is to come to understand that everything
is His unconditional gift of love, and we cannot force or manipulate things to get our
own way in our time scale.
In our silent rooms we do not forget you, or the struggles you face.
The months that pass ever rapidly for us do not see a greater distance between us.
We become ever closer, and our communion deepens in this silence.
Every moment is a meeting between us in a place of unconditional love where
we are one in Him, and with Him, beyond the things that divide so much of the
the church and the world. We receive you in our hearts as a child of God created by
Him in love, and for eternal union with Him.
You should never confuse our silence with a forgetfulness, or a weakening of our resolve
to walk this silent path back into the eternity that we came from. A path we do not walk
for ourselves alone, for love compels us to receive the Divine Light on behalf of, and for
all men and women.
One of our members writes:
"Each day, as you begin your journey of seven times of prayer imagine
you are starting with a blank piece of paper...today is a new beginning....
If you do not know the way seek , and you will find...Knock and the door
will be opened to you as an unconditional gift of love .
You will learn to pray not asking God for anything, but loving God because He is
God" - a member of the community
While God is a God without boundaries, ever in our past, present and future, we have an assurance that we can trust God in our present moment.
In Matthew 6:31-34, Jesus tells us that we do not have to worry about our tomorrows, or our past or even present. God tells us not to worry but to trust in Him, seeking first the Kingdom of God, placing God first, and then everything else will work out. There is no promise of what will work out, there is simply a command to trust God. This is why we pray. We are setting everything we had, or have, or will have, in God's capable hands. Our past, present and future is in the hands of our God.
May God bless you as each of you continue in prayer and in trusting that God will take care of all of our needs, in His way, in His time.
For many this month, there are celebrations of freedom, annually enjoyed, proclaiming liberty in their land. There are fireworks. There are parades. Explosions fill the air. The sky is filled with streams of colorful lighting streaks and expanding bursts of pyrotechnics and flamboyant rockets and sparklers.
But for others, this month continues previous misery as they struggle daily to merely survive, seeking such a true freedom that others enjoy, keeping that desire within their hearts, wishing for the day to enjoy, like others, the rewards of independence.
However, with Christ, we as Christians enjoy a truer and better freedom. It is a freedom of spirit and soul. True freedom is when one is free of the bounds of time. We trust that God in His time and in His way will provide the answers to our prayers. True freedom is relying on a future that includes an eternal destiny with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. We have the freedom of patience.
True freedom is the freedom of conscience. We have the joy of resting in the promise of forgiveness, trusting our past, present and future in the hands of a loving Savior.
True freedom is the absence of attachment to the world. Our riches are stored in another place. We are not bound by the chains of this world. We are not slaves to fashions or trends, passions, ambitions, or the love of this world. We are in this world, but certainly, we are not of this world.
We are Christians, followers of Jesus Christ. We are free.
May we pass this torch of freedom to others, so that they too may know the love of Jesus Christ and the freedom that only comes from Him.
God bless you, everyone,
At the Society of Prayer, we offer something very different. Many of those who are privately vowed have absolutely no place to go. The convents are closed to them. The doors are shut to them. They want to remain vowed but have no sense of belonging.
Here at the Society of Prayer, we offer a chance to belong. But we offer something even more than that. If one belongs to our order and stays in our order, that individual is oftentimes required to be more dedicated than those that are within an established and canonical order. Why do I say this? Because to be in our order you must remain solely out of total dedication to God, not out of pride, not to look for a relationship, not to chat with others. This is one of our key differences. You must remain because you and you alone wish to dedicate your life to prayer and mercy. There are no perks aside from what comes from God and God alone.
Our vowed members wish to remain private, some of them with high prestige but a very dedicated spirit. We offer no chat rooms or groups to argue and to cause division. Each person runs their own hermitage as according to their own rule of life. A rule of life may go beyond what we require and often does.
However, just because we are alone in our rooms, isolated from the other members, does not mean we do not pray for each other. This is what I meant by a higher level of dedication being required. This is not for everyone. But rest assured, if you remain in our order, your reward will be far greater than you can imagine.
May God richly bless all of you, as you dedicate your life to Jesus Christ, to prayer and to daily acts of mercy.
One of the most popular prayers is The Lord's Prayer. And in that prayer we read:
"Hallowed be thy name..."
How is God's name more sanctified than it already is? Be being lived by us.
I was recently reminded by an associate of our society that God is "in us."
This is scriptural, as it says in 1 John 4:14 that "whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in Him."
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us. (KJV)
Now, one of our responsibilities in this society is not to promote specific doctrine outside of the Apostles' Creed due to our ecumenicalism. But let us acknowledge our commonality and what the Apostles' Creed says:
"I believe in the communion of saints"
We are cheered on by those that have gone before us. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1-2).
And what brings this commonality about? The Spirit of God. And besides love, what signs or evidence are there of this communal relationship?
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galations 5:22-23)
My brothers and sisters, although there may be doctrinal differences between us that are minor, let us concentrate on the items that bring us together: God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit inside of us that gives evidence through our conduct that we are followers of the Saviour.
There is a reason why we pray "Our Father," or "Give us," or "Lead us not." We are a community of believers, both past and present, and in God's time, our future, as others believe and come to Christ in faith and partake of all that is available, gifts, sacraments and fellowship.
who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Sr. Bernadette Maria
We live in an age of "just getting by." It's in human nature to do the absolute minimum. We live in a stressful world with many stressed people. There is a level of entitlement often that screams from individuals that want everything yesterday and want all problems solved in the next three seconds. It is a me-me-me world. And yet, we have those that have dedicated their lives to God that insist on simplicity, values that know when to say no, when enough is enough, and more importantly, insist on solitude and times of prayer.
Prayer not only changes things, but prayer changes the one praying. It allows us to focus away from just getting by to doing something more...to make a sacrifice of time. Prayer is truly a necessity against all the stress in the world today. Prayer says STOP...LISTEN...WAIT.
People ask me how much I pray. And on most days, time wise, I pray about two and a halve hours per day. I have recorded prayers that start my day upon hitting play. I have prayer cds in my car. I have prayer books that I open and read. But the point is not the time. The point is the quality and the dedication to try. There is no required duration or length when we pray.
I know someone who cares for a relative and has literally no time in the day to pray but makes time with a simple "Jesus help me" or "Lord have mercy." Was it not the thief on the cross who simply said, "Lord remember me.." Was it not Peter who cried out, "Lord save me!"
God wants us to connect with Him. But God is more concerned with the effort, not trying to match someone else in what they do. Today, begin your daily prayers, even if it is a simple "God help me today" and begin to turn your life and worries over to the one who knows your heartache and trouble and burden. God is just a prayer away.
Here at the Society Of Prayer, members, after being Associates for six months, have the option to say vows to God, privately, vows of obedience to God, simplicity of life, and chastity. Some of our members are married, and some are not. Some of us are celibate. And sometimes, I get this question about vows. What are private vows?
Private vows are just that...private. They are vows between you and God. They are promises between you and God. You are not vowed to an institution or religion, but to God. And this is important, and it does not minimize the commitment whatsoever. No person can force you to commit an act against your conscience. Your relationship between God is a private matter. That being said, there is an element of "public" about private vows. Just because you make private vows to God, does not mean you are privately a Christian or privately a vowed or dedicated Christian. People will notice the change, which will invite questions, sometimes, even evangelization. Your family will notice the difference as well.
The other day, while at a grocery store, a cashier, noticing my wedding ring and a tired look in my eyes from a cold that I had, told me, "I'm sure your husband is proud of you shopping even though it's late and you had a hard day." I responded, "I hope he is." Of course, I didn't explain that my husband was God and that I was vowed, although the blue cross against my blue shirt was evident.
But seriously, people notice not just a blue cross or any other emblem...people notice if you are a person of prayer. Your attitude is contemplative. Your mannerism is different. Private vows does not mean that in public you don't have to be religious or hide your faith. And yes, sometimes, if employment demands it, we have to confirm to rules, and yet...there is a difference in us...a difference that people see.
Public vows, according to most religions, differ in that they are said formally before an organization and its leaders. But make no mistake, God holds the private vows, promises made to Him, as firm oaths to God. Just because you are not making the promises to a church does not negate the importance whatsoever.
All that being said, this does not negate the honor of those making public vows and entering convents. May God richly bless those making that sacrifice. But here, at the Society of Prayer, we have an option for those that cannot, for whatever reason, enter those institutions, whether because of age or marital status or whatever reason. Here we honor the private vows and offer a place to belong.
May God guide you as you decide how best to service Him in the future.
We are told that many people will come from East to West to take their place in the Kingdom of Heaven.
For far too long, however, we have defined these people only in terms of what separates them from God’s love…
If we truly come seeking God, we must not come merely seeking a God separate from our brother or sister whom God has placed on our path, but a God who comes to us personally, and individually, through each one of us. We must embrace equally and without condemnation with a universal love.
Christ proclaimed, "When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself."
Often the person we point the finger of judgment and condemnation at does not need to be as liberated as we personally need to be liberated from our own judgment, condemnation, and prejudices.
When we begin to understand this in our deepest being, we will begin to heal the churches’ and world’s sicknesses and divisions.
By an associate of the community.