Betty Duffy

(Amateur)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Attention Prayer Warriors: This is an Email From God

I received an invitation recently to participate in a new prayer initiative. These groups keep springing up in forwarded emails addressed to “Prayer Warriors,” bemoaning the present culture and asking the recipient to use the powers of the chain letter combined with the Holy Spirit to spread the word and become a part of a miracle.

The most recent invitation came from a person I respect, who also wanted me to use my writing abilities to help the cause by composing weekly e-newsletters. Snagged! Rather than pressing delete, I have to reflect on the initiative and respond personally.

So I have pause now to consider, is it possible that God is currently using the humble means of spreading his word through a collective of grannies sending each other chain letters? If God saw fit to be born in a stable in Bethlehem, then why would it be so very unlikely for him to perform miracles through a misspelled chain letter?

I’m underplaying this particular initiative a little bit, because it is not JUST a chain letter. I would just be responsible for composing weekly newsletters that have the flavor of a chain letter. But it is also an ecumenical work, where different Churches in a community come together to plan “An Event” at which the community would pray and sing to change the world. In all, fasting, prayer, and song is not a bad initiative. In fact, it’s a very good initiative. I still feel that this is not exactly my particular calling, and I plan to respond accordingly.

I know this is not my calling because I have already received two very straightforward communiqués from God in recent months. One is that I need to spend less time in front of the computer rather than more. The other is that I need not spin my wheels on new initiatives and apostolates when I am not yet accomplishing the primary commitments of my Christian vocation.

It occurred to me as I thought this over that while spreading the word about a new fasting and prayer group is not a bad idea, Mother Church already has the structures in place to effect miracles. If the entire Church joined in the intentions of the Holy Father each week, fasted on Fridays and during the liturgical seasons of fasting, attended daily Mass, said a daily Rosary, attended regular Benediction and Confession, took up devotions to the saints, etc. then there would be miracles aplenty. The Church has already guaranteed the means to change culture and put each individual on the path to sainthood.

If we’re talking about the power of one person to change the world, then the answer is not necessarily to compose a letter in attempts to spread the word that hearts must be changed. It is rather to change my own heart. If I were already doing all of the above, and accomplishing my duties to my family with some regularity, and I still wanted to do more, well, then, email away!

But first, I need to get my house in order.

9 comments:

Anne said...

Well said with many good points! Good for you!

Sally Thomas said...

Right on every count. And I am getting up from the computer . . . NOW. (but not until I say that I love that blue-and-white china. I am a sucker for blue-and-white china).

Oh, my verification word is "pated." As in "addle-," I guess.

BettyDuffy said...

"I find it harder and harder every day to live up to my blue china"—Oscar Wilde

Dawn Farias said...

Ah, yes. And yes. And, oh, yes again.

Lauren said...

I hear ya! I remember last year, I brought my kids to Adoration with me prior to Lent, in order to mull on what rigorous spiritual discipline would I undertake for Lent? As I sat there in the pew, the words formed themselves very powerfully in my mind. "Just love them." Them, those kids beside me in the pew. Rather than trying to jam more spiritual commitments into my schedule, I felt like I was being told, "Slow down and really fulfill the spiritual commitments you've already made..." such as, ahem, being a mother.

I think your advice for the church at large is good. Just imagine if all the people who check the "Catholic" box on a form actually attended Mass every week? It really would have truly miraculous effects.

mrsdarwin said...

I find it harder and harder every day to live up to the brilliance of Oscar Wilde's epigrams.

nicole said...

Great point! And food for thought.

Owen said...

This is it, spot on "The other is that I need not spin my wheels on new initiatives and apostolates when I am not yet accomplishing the primary commitments of my Christian vocation."

I struggle exactly THERE.

Which makes me ask - why the blank - did I resume blogging at luminousmiseries? Balance. Need it.

Tari said...

You write: "If we’re talking about the power of one person to change the world, then the answer is not necessarily to compose a letter in attempts to spread the word that hearts must be changed."

AMEN! In the past year I have moved from an "emergent" church to the Orthodox Church, and what you wrote sums up WHY very, very succinctly. And strangely enough, as I focus inward on my own holiness (or pathetic lack thereof), it doesn't make my spiritual life more about me; it makes it more abut Him.

Been lurking for a while - I really enjoy your writing.