Letter to the Stigmatine Laity – in preparation for our meeting on Saturday, Dec. 6th, 2014

Stigmatines – St. Joseph’s Hall
554 Lexington Street
Waltham MA 02452-3097

November 24, 2014
Vietnamese Martyrs

Dear Stigmatine Lay Member,

                            On the first Saturday morning of December –i.e., December 6th – we have scheduled our regular monthly meeting.  The plan for the morning will be as follows:

9:00                 Celebration of Mass

9:40                 Coffee Break

10:00              Conference [Please try to be punctual –
this time has to end at 10:40]

10:40              Discussion and end of formal meeting

11:00             The Sacrament of Reconciliation is
available for those who request it.

As last month, we did not cover much ground – so, again, this we will try to show the Old Testament Exodus Covenant Formula in response to God’s: Thy Will be done!  Jesus coined this expression, and a variation of it appears in Mary’s response to the Angel: Let it be done to me according to Your word!

In the long history of the Catholic Church, among the saints and charisms of religious communities, this formula was adapted to changing circumstances. St. Ignatius of Loyola [Spiritual Exercises, n. 234] prayed: receive, o Lord, all my liberty… (Suscipe).  St. Charles de Foucauld was inspired to offer a Prayer of Abandonment, with his invocation beginning and ending with his addressing God, the Merciful Father.

As we have seen, the Stigmatine Founder had his own interpretation and expressions of Holy Abandonment:  in what is perhaps a deMontfort inspiration of his prayer to Mary: Buon giorno, Madre mia!!!! – St. Gaspar Bertoni used  a very familiar form of address to Mary in the light of the Immaculate Conception, that would be defined on December 8, 1854, 18 months after his death [+ June12, 1853] upon which our reflections this year are based.  In the course of this year, we are pondering in prayer different expressions of St. Gaspar’s life of abandonment – suffering all his life for poor health, and initiatives that did not always succeed. In his darkest hour, when many men left him – in the 1840’s – always bed-ridden, he wrote his Constitutions for the Stigmatine way of life.

As we prepare for a New Advent, and for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we pray to her as the Spouse of Joseph, in the mystery of their Holy Espousals. With St. Gaspar, we thrust our cares on the Merciful Lord:

…  Please offer to God all I have to do and suffer today, in union with your merits, as well as those of your Blessed Son. I offer you and consecrate to your service all my being and whatever belongs to me, placing everything under your protection.

And may God bless you all! I hope to see you on Saturday, December 6th here at St. Joseph’s Hall.

Sincerely in the Healing Wounds of the Merciful Lord,

 Fr. Joseph Henchey, CSS
Acting Spiritual Director

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