This past week was an extraordinary opportunity for the Copperas Cove Catholic Community to receive grace as the "Apostles of the Interior Life" religious Order conducted their Mission for the Parish.
Along with the Sisters were young people from the Texas A&M "Aggies" College who gave their personal testimonies and support for the Sisters in their Mission through song and prayer.
From the Apostles of the Interior Life web page:
"The Apostles of the Interior Life are consecrated women who dedicate themselves to evangelization and to offering a service of spiritual assistance for the Interior formation of all who seek to know and love Jesus Christ."
Each evening began with the Holy Mass conducted by one of Deepertruth's Chaplain's, Father Chris Downey.
There is no better way to begin an event than through the Holy Mass. The first night the Sisters focused on the importance of Mental Prayer.
The reflections were based from the book "In Conversation with God" by Francis Fernandez, Scepter Publishers Inc, Princeton, NJ, 2000.
The focus of the talk was to prepare yourself for prayer through preparation, body of prayer, and conclusion. The preparation phase is to recollect the purpose of the devotion, clearing your mind and allowing the presence of God to take center stage. You should invite the Holy Spirit to help you stay focused and centered in your devotion.
The body of the prayer involves your mind, reflection on the mysteries of God, on dedication and purpose for the prayer. Affectional prayer involves your heart, allowing the Lord to penetrate deep within your soul so that you can benefit from the heart felt prayer. Then a resolution which involves your will, to be resolved to grow in the Father's will for your life.
The Conclusion of the prayer is simply to develop a thankful heart before God, to entrust your resolution to Christ through our Mother Mary, the Saints your guardian angel. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who are there with Our Lord. Then carry a word for the day that keeps a prayer in your heart throughout the day.
Pope John Paul II instructs us, "prayer is a duty, but it is also a great joy, because it is a dialogue with God through Jesus Christ."
"Fill yourselves with joy, realizing that our prayer is united to the prayer of all those who have ever lived with Jesus Christ, the unceasing prayer of the Church Militant, the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant; they join all those still to come. Therefore... when you find yourself dry in prayer, make yourself go on praying, and say to the Lord: My God, I don't want my voice to be missing from that great chorus of permanent praise to You which will never come to an end" (Idem, 20165, p1411).
The Second evening, after the Holy Mass, the Sisters talked on the importance of going to Confession.
Pope John Paul II writes, "I absolve you from your sins... 'Go' says our Lord, 'and do not sin again.' It is Christ himself who forgives. The sacramental formula, I absolve you... and the imposition of the hand and the sign of the Cross made over the penitent show that at this moment the contrite and converted sinner comes into contact with the power and mercy of God. It is the moment at which, in response to the penitent, the Trinity becomes present in order to blot out sin and restore innocence. And the saving power of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus is also imparted to the Penitent... God is always the one who is principally offended by sin-'tibi soli peccavi!'-and God alone can forgive." (Apostolic Exhortation, Reconciliatio et Poenitentia, 2 December 1984, 31, III)
St. Ambrose said, "See the Father comes out to meet you: He will fall on your neck and will give you a kiss, the pledge of love and tenderness. He will make them bring you a cloak, shoes for your feet... You still fear a reprimand.,. you are afraid of hearing words filled with anger, and he prepares a banquet for you."
The Lord take those sins that you confess and he throws them into the sea of forgetfulness and he remembers them no more. That is why the Confessional is truly the mercy seat of God!
St. John Chrysostom said, "It is not enough to remove the arrow from the body: We also have to heal the wound caused by the arrow. It is the same with the soul; after we have received forgiveness for our sins, we have to heal the wound that remains through penance."
The evening gave opportunity for everyone to go to Confession. There were five Catholic Priests who participated form local Catholic Communities to hear Confessions. What a great opportunity offering healing of the mind, body, spirit, and soul.
The third night after the Holy Mass focused on the Holy Eucharist.
The importance of Eucharistic Adoration (which was part of each evening's devotion), for personal devotion has the greatest value.
The Council of Trent, Session 22 taught "It is impossible to make a more perfect reparation to God for the faults that are committed daily than by offering or participating with devotion in the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar."
During Holy Communion, I have prayed this prayer since the 1980's, "May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most mysterious and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in heaven on earth and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar."
What a great opportunity this was and I am so thankful that I was able to attend all three evenings. I want to encourage all of you to make the Mass the center of your life, to make prayer more focused with an intent to grow in holiness. Our Families and our Nation is in great need and we must cry out to the Lord and once again kneel before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and pray for our Country and our world.
Christ Jesus, I acknowledge You King of the universe.
All that has been created has been made for You.
Make full use of Your rights over me.
I renew the promises I made in Baptism,
when I renounced Satan and all his pomps and works,
and I promise to live a good Christian life
and to do all in my power
to procure the triumph of the rights of God
and Your Church.
Divine Heart of Jesus,
I offer you my efforts
in order to obtain that all hearts
may acknowledge your Sacred Royalty,
and that thus the Kingdom of Your peace
may be established throughout the universe.
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