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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Strength for the Week

Strength for the Week
Dear Friend,

Our webathon novena this year was shared with people all over the world! For us it was an incredible experience of solidarity as we shared in the needs and desires of each one of you who prayed with us or who followed through the newsletter, Youtube Live, or Periscope. 

We want you to know that even though the nine days are over we have not stopped praying. All your intentions are in our chapel before the Blessed Mother and in November we will move them to the Divine Master's Altar where we traditionally have a basket of names to be remembered in the sisters' prayers and the Novena of Masses for loved ones who have passed into eternity.

We are extremely grateful that you made it possible for us to provide our Seniors, the community and the publishing house with a generator before winter hits here in the Northeast. Thank you to all who contributed. Every one of your names will be in our chapel and in our hearts for months to come.

Sr. Mary Leonora, FSP
Provincial Superior
Catholic Answers to a Cry for Help

Far in the back row, against the wall, was a hand hesitantly lifted for a question. I invited her to respond. “Doesn’t forgiving someone over and over again,” asked the woman in a subdued voice, “invite them to keep hurting us?” She had been a regular attendee during a parish program on forgiveness I had been leading, but had never spoken until then. Tonight, however, we had been discussing Jesus’ teaching that we should forgive those who offend us seventy times seven times, and she had raised an obvious and necessary question. 

I was glad she had asked it and sensed that, for her, the matter was not just theoretical; it was personal, and perhaps painfully so. She had a burdened look about her, as if she were carrying a great weight on her back. I couldn’t help but wonder if she was a victim of domestic abuse. In my answer, I wanted to assure her that we can seek to forgive someone while acting to protect ourselves from additional harm. “We can forgive from a distance,” I insisted, “the people we should keep at a distance.” Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation.

Whether or not my questioner was a victim of domestic abuse, I’ll probably never know. However, it’s quite possible that she was, as are an estimated 100 million Catholic women around the world. And men can be victims too. Sometimes the abuse takes the form of domestic violence. At other times, as the U.S. bishops stress in their excellent 1992 document, “When I Call for Help,” the abuse is psychological, economic, or spiritual. But regardless of the form it takes, domestic abuse is painful—excruciatingly so—and under no circumstances can it ever be justified. 
We can forgive from a distance the people we should keep at a distance.

That’s one clear message that needs to be communicated during October, Domestic Abuse Awareness Month, which is observed both in the U.S. Catholic Church and the nation at large. “When I Call for Help” is essential reading for any Catholic seeking to grasp the realities and dynamics of domestic abuse, and is available to download for free at www.usccb.org. Among other things, “When I Call for Help” does an outstanding job of addressing some of the spiritual struggles faced by domestic abuse victims.

One such struggle likely faced by the woman in my Lenten gathering can be put this way: “If someone repeatedly hurts me but keeps saying they’re sorry, do I need to remain with them, even if they’ll probably hurt me again?” The answer, according to the bishops, is a resounding “No.” 
35 days to deeper prayer on the journey 
through the middle years

Question:

Are you in the middle years looking for something "more"?
Do regrets keep you from being happy and peaceful?
Is "letting go" something that attracts you but remains illusive?

When people reach their midlife years, something happens.
Though we can practice the “lessons” of midlife
earlier as young adults
midlife has truly begun when something outside of our control 
has rearranged the furniture of our lives, so to speak,
and “left us out of the picture.” 

We are no longer who we were
we are not yet who we will be.

Almost universally those in these middle years and even beyond 
ask for guidance in how to pray.

I invite you to a Midlife Path. Each day you will receive a short psalm for prayer, 2 paragraphs of reflection, and a thought to carry you through the day.

This Midlife Path will help you discover God's love for you and direct your gaze to Jesus. You will explore the struggles of midlife and the powerful promise that God is here for you. The path will open up avenues for you where you hope to move on and show you the awesomeness of a life where Christ is set loose to fill you with joy.

Start on your midlife journey of prayer today for just $5.99 (Introductory Offer: Full price will be $8.99).

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