NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local parish, who professes faith and loyalty to the Church. This ministry - my "little work" - is strictly a personal expression of that faith and loyalty, and not an officially recognized ministry in the Diocese of Honolulu. ~ Peter

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Holy Relic Visitation: Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group, 4/25/2015

Standing next to my Virgin of Guadalupe
banner, which we hung in the garage.
Tonight’s Rosary Prayer Meeting was held in the Gruber's garage, as there was a major renovation going on in the house due to a recent and unexpected incident of water damage.  Being pregnant and a little stressed over having to figure out the logistics for this meeting, our host/prayer leader, at one point, considered cancelling… but after careful consideration, she decided to just put it all in the Lord’s hands and proceeded with it.  We were all glad she did because it turned out to be another great night of uplifting prayer and fellowship, despite the change in settings… plus there were a couple of people who attended, who we hadn’t seen in months, and it was truly a happy reunion for all of us.

And it’s providential how all the obstacles that transpired before this prayer meeting went along perfectly with the overall message that I speculate we were meant to receive from God: how to deal with challenges.

Challenges; it’s something that all believers in Christ can expect in life.  Not to discourage Christians (or would-be Christians) out there, but Jesus foretold this to his followers often enough in his lifetime (read John 15:18-20 for a good example).

The Saint of the Month, whose life we reflected on this month, inspired us to try to respond to all personal challenges in the way Christ did – with Love, Patience, and Humility… plus with an unfailing Hope that all will be well in the end. And yes... Jesus promised that, too; that Joy and Triumph eventually follow if we have Faith and hang in there (read Matthew 5:10-12).

So the Saint I referred to was St. Maria Crescentia Hoss (or just St. Crescentia, left), who died in 1744. For those not familiar with her life, she was a pious peasant girl who entered a Franciscan convent in Kaufbeuren, Germany. Because she was admitted without a dowry, she was looked down upon as a freeloader by the other nuns and mistreated, especially by the Mother Superior. Crescentia was made to do all the worst chores and was even deprived of a bed to rest herself at the end of the day. It’s one thing to expect challenges imposed on us by certain circumstances or by non-believers, but when it's generated by people who are supposed to be on our side – family and/or people from our own parish communities – it stings all the more.

A relic of bone particles from St. Crescentia
that we venerated during our prayer.
Poor Crescentia was tested to the breaking point, but rather than responding to her persecutors with bitterness, or giving up on her vocation, the young novice persevered by clinging to her faith in God.  By her sincere, exemplary conduct, she eventually won the nuns over and ended up as their Superior. The Saint's capable leadership lead to the convent's expansion and prosperity in both spiritual and temporal blessings. It was a spiritual Cinderella-story and our group instantly fell in love with St. Crescentia, the heroine of the story!

As already mentioned, the prayer meeting was wonderful… the food was amazing, and the company and conversation was stimulating.  In fact, everything went so well, there’s talk of perhaps holding the next prayer meeting in the garage again because the days are becoming so humid... and the cool air that occasionally wafted through the garage was a most welcomed sensation.  So it’s blessed irony how the small bunch of lemons we started with ended up as cool, refreshing lemonade!  But that’s Jesus for you - he turns all life’s challenges into blessings if we just put some faith in him.  God is good!

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test
he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him."

~ James 1:12

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