As our friends in Summit are reminding us, Pope Francis says today, November 21, is a day to thank God for cloistered religious: At the end of today’s general audience, Pope Francis noted that this Friday, Nov. 21, is the liturgical Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Noting the Church will celebrate the Day pro Orantibus, dedicated to cloistered religious communities, he said, “It is an opportune occasion to thank the Lord for the gift of so many persons that, in monasteries and hermitages, dedicate themselves to God in prayer and in onerous silence, acknowledging in Him that primacy that belongs only to Him.”
I particularly like what Father Roger Landry has written about the concept of praying for our monastic prayer warriors. Recounting a speaking engagement before which everything that could possibly go wrong, went wrong, he says:
The priests gave me warm applause at the end and then launched into a vigorous question-and-answer period in which they seemed to have actually gotten something out of the talk.
After it was all over, the Archbishop told me that he was stunned that I could speak for so long with no notes, no ahs, and so much poise and clarity. When I told him what had happened prior to the talk and stated that the fact that it wasn’t a complete cataclysm had to be miraculous, he said with a smile, “Well, someone must have been praying for you!”
When I recounted the story to my Dominican friend, she interjected, “You know, the Archbishop was right.” She told me that the nuns of her cloistered monastery in Summit, New Jersey, had all been praying for me with perpetual adoration and perpetual Rosary leading up to and throughout the time of the clergy days.
She then said that, as nuns of the Order of Preachers, they regularly pray for me whenever they know I’m traveling to preach and teach. They place written notices on a prayer board outside their chapel so that all of them can pray for the intentions confided to them, she continued, and stressed that they take this responsibility quite seriously.
“You’ll never know until heaven,” she told me, “how much of the fruit you bear is due to our prayers for you.”
Since that conversation I’ve become much more aware that all of my priestly work, including writing columns like this, is assisted by the prayers of the nuns and so many contemplatives who in this world I may never meet.
I think I know that nun! And I completely concur with his conclusion:
We’ll never know until heaven how many of the graces we’ve received — and disasters we’ve averted — have taken place on account of their incessant prayers.
It is true. Let us today thank God for the monastics who prayerfully intercede for all of us, and do so gladly.
Today seems like a good time, too, for a some Nun News from some cloisters!
The Norbertine Canonesses (that’s them at the top of the post) have just welcomed their 32nd sister — obviously they need a new picture! And, by the way, if you want to order their incredibly fresh and full Christmas wreaths, time has almost run out to do so! Their last shipping date is November 28th, so email your order!
The Summit Dominicans have welcomed two new postulants, and having just celebrated the solemn profession of one young nun, they are preparing for another one on January 1.
The Dominican Nuns of Menlo Park also have a new postulant, who has gone from “the bar to the grille”. Great line.
Let us remember, today, to pray for those who pray for us!