Friends, we have come to the end of our Prayer Pledge. Each year, this seems to sneak up on me, and I’m never quite ready for it to end (which is the goal!). Whether this year’s Prayer Pledge went ideally for you or if you struggled through some days and weeks, we have persevered to our final day together.
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Sometimes hope looks a lot like perseverance.
I love the imagery in our Prayer Pledge’s verse from Isaiah: when we hope we don’t grow weary, we do not faint.
It’s springtime in the Middle East and my 10-year-old recently planted seeds in our garden. He frequents the sun soaked ground for signs of life, but they are nowhere to be seen. We anticipate a bountiful harvest, but for now, the seeds are buried and there is “death.”
I couldn’t stop fidgeting from joint aches as I desperately searched for padded pews at Mass that day. My body needed Him. My body needed His Body.
What if he can’t fight this…? I wondered.
My closest friend’s six-week-old baby boy was diagnosed with a rare terminal illness and dreams for their long awaited first child were tragically shattered. Our community rallied around them as this tender infant battled surgery, chemotherapy, and blood transfusions, including one week on the ventilator.
But of all things that could have occupied her heart that evening, she was thinking of me.
“Hoping against hope, Abraham believed, and thus became the father of many nations.” // Catechism of the Catholic Church 1819
No statement better summarizes Abraham, the “archetype of hope” unto whom God promised to make a great nation (see Genesis 12:1-4). But ninety-nine years passed and Abraham still had no heirs (see Genesis 17:1-2), yet he continued to “hope against hope” (Romans 4:18).
It was a busy day at work when the phone rang. The tone of my husband instantly spelled dreadful news. “I’ve been arrested,” he said.
Soon after Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese Army in 1975, thousands of civilians were imprisoned. One of these was Saigon’s newly appointed archbishop, Francis Xavier Nguyen van Thuan, seized on August 15th.
My mind froze trying to grapple how a friend—someone who knew me so intimately—could betray me. I often chide and say that if there ever were a binding contract for pastoral ministry, the fine print would warn the undersigned that ministry is hazardous, that it would subject them to expressions of animosity, slander, and betrayal.
In my grief, I whispered, “Lord, I need hope again!”
Omnipotent. I remember learning this word while studying vocabulary, and the example used was that of an “all-powerful” God. I love this word! Partially because it brings back memories of one of my favorite school subjects, but also because it has such an authoritative tone.
The idea of “living in the moment” sounds blissful, right? Yet sometimes it can be so very hard to do.
I am self-admittedly impatient. This posed a challenge for me when it came to my husband and I planning to start our family.
Years ago, shortly after my grandfather died, I asked my grandma how she was doing and what it was like to wake up everyday without him. She amazed me with a response I didn’t expect, and she spoke so simply and matter-of-fact.