Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Core of Spiritual Motherhood and the Source of its Generativity

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

Over this past month since our first meeting I have deliberately hesitated to writing about a set rule of prayers and devotions that would be embraced by all those who are considering this vocation of Spiritual Motherhood for Priests.  One of the reasons for this is to give you an opportunity to consider the essence of this "vocation within vocation" without reducing it to certain prayers said on any given day.  While such prayers and devotions are definitely important, I do not want the fact that what is being held out to you is a way of life and a call to a deeper self-offering to God within the context of your daily lives and vocations.  The espousal of the soul to Christ and the depth of that union is at the core of spiritual motherhood and is the source of its generativity and the promise of the fruit of your intercession on behalf of priests.

It is this self offering that is captured so beautifully in the following post about the spirituality of Fr. Doyle who was so dedicated to praying for his priests and their sanctification.  

Jesus knows I have only one wish in this world: to love Him and Him alone. For the rest He has carte blanche to do as He pleases in my regard. I just leave myself in His loving hands, and so have no anxiety or care, but great peace of soul.
Take, O Lord, and receive my liberty, my health and strength, my limbs, my flesh, my blood, my very life. Do with me just as You wish; I embrace all lovingly -  sufferings, wounds, death if only it will glorify You one tiny bit. 
COMMENT: The confident embrace of God’s will, even if this means suffering and difficulties, is the hallmark of high sanctity. In today’s quote, Fr Doyle shows us his complete acceptance of God’s will. Every time we say the Our Father, we express our willingness that God’s will be done on earth. Most of us think very little about what this means. So often we really mean that we want our will to be done; so often we can automatically assume that God’s will coincides nicely with our own. But it doesn’t always happen this way. Some of the most difficult moments in life occur when God’s will fundamentally differs from our own. In such circumstances we must learn to trust in God, and remember that He is a loving Father who directs everything to our ultimate good, even if it means suffering in the short term. Yes, this may be hard to accept, but we see the truth of this again and again in the lives of the saints. We see the serenity of victim souls like St Therese or St Gemma Galgani despite their illness; we see the cheerfulness of martyrs as they face death; we see the joy of St Francis or St Teresa or St John of the Cross as they embraced radical poverty. We see a particularly striking example of this in the life of the recently beatified Chiara Luce Badano who died at the age of 18 in 1990 from bone cancer. Her parents report that she went through a short struggle to accept the cross of cancer, but having once accepted it, she radiated peace and serenity. And of course we see the good humour of Fr Doyle himself so eloquently expressed in all of his letters sent home from the trenches. While we should not pretend that it is easily acquired, ultimately there is a peace to be found in abandoning ourselves into God’s loving hands. The challenge is to learn how to willingly find this abandonment and peace at all times of life, not just when we have run out of options and have no choice but to accept the finality of God’s will.
 Fr Doyle’s prayer today is very similar to the Suscipe of St Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits. Here is the full text of St Ignatius’ prayer:
Receive, O Lord, all my liberty. Take my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me; I give it all back to You and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.

Reblogged from