I’ve just checked through my archives and cannot believe I didn’t write a piece on the Lenten Mission from 2010. In my blog, Spiritual Growth- The God Path June 15, 2011, I told the story of my first experience of Fr. Jim Curtin. Although I tried to get him to come and give a Lenten Mission at our church in the period of Lent 2009, we already had someone booked for that year, so I had to be patient and wait to invite him the following year. He finally came to our church during Lent of 2010 and gave a Healing Prayer Mission which truly rocked our parish. Out of that experience a fledgling Healing Prayer Ministry was established and I guess God realized that we needed a little more help along the path and by some miraculous divine intervention, Fr. Jim was invited once more to present a second Healing Prayer Mission in Lent of this year.
This time around, the Mission was probably even more powerful than the previous year. Fr. Jim brought four of his parishioners with him, two men and two women, all Healing Prayer Ministers. Much of the content was similar to the previous year and yet, somehow, it all seemed new. The first evening was focused on physical healing and Fr. Jim reminded us that Jesus himself invites us to continue his work on earth – and some. “Those who follow Me will do not only the works I do but greater works.” (John 14:12-14). He also pointed out that Jesus’ work was about touching and praying over and healing the sick and even raising the dead.
His subsequent exhortations to his apostles and disciples, his mandate to them if you will, was to do the same and more. In fact the work of the early church was just that: telling the story of Jesus, healing the sick, raising the dead, and forgiving people’s sins – also mandated by Jesus. Somehow, over the centuries the church has moved away from this simple mandate of Jesus. Man-made rules and regulations were established and the church became very “powerful” and political. It is only in recent times, partly because of the changes brought about by Vatican II in the 60’s and partly because of the upsurge of the charismatic movement, that there has been a desire to return to “doing the work of Jesus”.
The second evening of the Mission focused on the the Holy Spirit and how important it was to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. On the third and final evening we heard about healing on the spiritual level. After the presentation each evening, prayer teams would be stationed in the area surrounding the altar and parishioners were invited to come up and ask for healing. It was truly a remarkable experience to watch people go up, be prayed over, and then be “struck” by the Holy Spirit. Many people were so overcome by the Spirit that they “went down” to the floor and lay “resting in the Spirit” for some time.
The fact that people came back to each evening of the Mission was testament itself to their hunger for an experience of the Spirit as well as an indication of the success of the Mission. People from many other churches attended this Mission because they had heard through friends what an impact it had made on their lives the previous year. The church was full all three evenings. My husband had an extremely powerful experience as he requested Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I cannot reveal the details here because that is his story to tell. Suffice to say that it changed him dramatically.
A friend, who I felt inspired to invite to the third night of the Mission, had her own very powerful and personal experience. She was not of our denomination and I remember her saying that never would she have imagined having anything like that experience in a Catholic church. She likened it more to a “revival” than a “mission”. But whatever label she gave it, her experience led her to make a personal decision that she had been hovering over for some time. She has since set up in her own business – a life-long dream.
Since the Mission, Richard and I have felt compelled to become part of the Healing Prayer Ministry. It is growing and blossoming into a fruitful work of the Lord, and we feel blessed and privileged to be a part of this group and to offer this service to our fellow parishioners. As I look back to that conference in 2008 and the growth which has come from that, I am so grateful that I remain ever open to the beckoning of the Spirit.
I have been in a “dry spell” again:-(. And yet I have so much I want to write about. So many things running around my head. But it all seems stuck inside and I haven’t been able to release it. It is so frustrating. So let me start somewhere and see if I can unblock something.
So much has happened in my life in the last couple of months. Oh nothing monumental or earth-shattering – just life. But it has been so much more than the various bouts of sickness that I have had to contend with. Towards the end of February we had an amazing Lenten Mission at our church. A man fired with the Holy Spirit, Fr. Jim Curtin from Wisconsin, came and woke up a new spirit in our parish. I will eventually write a full posting about that.
One morning in March (fortunately in one of my healthy periods!!), my husband suddenly experienced chest pains and was hospitalized. I discovered through that experience that I have a weird way of dealing with unexpected shocking news when it involves my loved ones. That’s another posting too.
Easter and the celebration of the risen Lord came around again. With each year I become more and more aware of the passing of the seasons and the special church and State feast days and festivals. And each one seems to come around faster and faster. I am sure that this has something to do with what happens internally to us as we get older. Food for another posting.
At the end of March we had the joy of a fleeting visit from my eldest son Marco. He was flown from Naples, Italy to DC for a conference. That was a chance not to pass up and so he came a couple of days early and we flew him down to Florida so we could snatch some time with him. It was a happy time, yet tinged with sadness: his ten year relationship with the love of his life is seemingly at an end. The culprit? Words – those said in anger and those left unsaid. I know in my heart that I can write something about that.
And then came my birthday. Thank God by then I was done with being sick and I was able to celebrate with joy. Dinner with friends one day. Lunch with “the girls” another day. Cards and telephone calls from family across the sea as well as those close by. And wonderful gifts that showed just how much people cared. Beautiful flowers from my husband.
Celebration followed celebration as Mother’s Day came just a week after my birthday. What a day of bitter-sweet emotions. Mother’s Day this year occurred on the fourteenth anniversary of the passing of my own mother. I miss her so much. I still have times when I want to telephone her to share a special moment. I often think how she would have enjoyed a visit to my home here in America.
Again I received calls from my sons overseas. My husband showered me with more flowers and a lovely card. And of course my “baby”, my beautiful daughter Melissa, also telephoned. I was out in the garden and had just seen three butterflies in quick succession. They are my special connection to my mother but almost always cause the tears to flow.
I shared my memory of my mother with Melissa and we both cried some together. Between the tears she said, “I wish I could spend the day with you Mum”. But we both know that while she makes the choices that she makes today, that cannot be possible. And my heart is broken all over again. Sometimes being a mother just plains sucks!!
In the last few days I have realized that much of this being blocked, of my inability to write, is connected to this particular heartbreak. I have to put so much energy into staying upbeat, into not walking around looking miserable, that I have no energy left for play dates with my internal Muse. By the end of the day it leaves me totally exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
So now I have to figure out a way to break through this situation so that I can reclaim my inspiration, my time with the Muse. Perhaps I have taken a small step in this direction this week. I have found a support group that may help me to walk through the difficulty in my relationship with my daughter. Then I hope to free myself and my energy and move back into daily regular writing.
Over time I have been asked to write prayers for different occasions. I would like to share three prayers with you today. The first is an “Artist’s Prayer”. At the time of writing I was following the book the Artist’s Way written by Julia Cameron.
This is quite an amazing book which sets out a twelve week course. The sub-title of the book is A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. I have actually been through this book twice: the first time alone, the second time (about three years later) with a group of four other women. I grew immensely both times around.
At the end of each chapter there are a series of “tasks” to be completed before the next week. The following prayer was one of those tasks.
Heavenly Father, Artist Supreme,
You are the Divine Creator of this awesome universe. I humbly, yet courageously, ask You to allow me to be a co-creator with You.
I open my heart, my soul, my mind, and my body so that Your creative energy may flow through my being, that I may experience Your divine talent. Bless the products of my hands, my eyes, and my mind and let them reflect some measure of your majestic beauty.
Allow me to find and work with others who also seek Your divine guidance, Your artist’s touch, as they work to produce their own creations. Let me grow in light and love as I allow Your divine energy to flow through me.
Amen. ( May 1999)
In March of 2005 I organized a Women’s Day event in my home. March 8th is International Day of the Woman and while I lived in Italy I held about three of these events. They were always very well received, so once I had established a grand circle of women friends in Florida I decided to go ahead and plan one here. There were about thirty women present and this was the opening prayer that I wrote.
ABBA, help me to be humble enough and wise enough to recognize that all people do not call You by the same name, nor do they reach You by the same path.
You are known as God, Allah, Great White Spirit, Kali, Jesus, Grandfather Sky, Buddha, Jehovah, Messiah, LAKSHMI, Shivha, Holy Spirit, Ganisha, Grandmother Earth, Kwan Yin, just to mention a few of Your names.
Today we embrace You in the way best known to each of us personally. We ask that You be present here and bless us with Your love, Your light, Your energy, Your peace, Your joy, and Your grace.
We ask for Your guidance and Your wisdom that You may help us to reach our full potential as women so that we may accomplish our mission on this earth to the very best of our ability.
We ask this in Your name and for Your honor and glory.
Amen. (March 2005)
The last prayer that I would like to share with you is one that I wrote for an evening of fellowship with the women of CRHP (Christ Renews His Parish) at my church.
Abba, Father, we yearn to grow abundantly in Your grace, just like the carefully tended vine that produces a bountiful harvest. We ask that You prune us when it is necessary, helping us to be rid of negative attitudes and defects of character. Nourish us with Your care, Your compassion, and Your love. Pour the refreshing waters of the Holy Spirit upon us, that we may grow more and more each day in Your likeness and then minister to others as Your disciples.
These things we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen. (September 2006)
I love using the creative word to honor the God of my understanding. I also enjoy being as inclusive as possible when I am working with a wider group of people than just my church group. Prayer is a perfect way to honor God, to give Him praise, to thank Him, and to get closer to Him. And we are all capable of creating spontaneous prayers, words that come straight from the heart to our Creator.