The White Rider

"As contemplatives in the world, we esteem the value of prayer in itself for love of God and give ourselves wholeheartedly to the mission of Christ through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy" (Constitutions #1).

Franciscan Sisters TOR Works Mercy

Works of Mercy: Praying for the Living and the Dead

One of those works of mercy, a spiritual work of mercy, is to pray for the living and the dead.

Right now two of our sisters are having what we call a "hermitage experience", a more concentrated time of silence, solitude, contemplative work, and prayer.  In these two weeks after Christmas they are each praying for a special intention.

Sr. Agnes Therese is praying for peace throughout the world while Sr. Teresa is offering her prayer, work, and fasting for those who do not know or believe in God's mercy and for those for whom God's heart breaks.

Prayer and intercession are considered one of our main ministries and it is a gift for us to be able to life up to the Lord the dying, deceased, addicted, lost, priests, and families, and to pray for peace and reconciliation, and for a culture of life and the list goes on and on.

The two-week "hermitage experience" is but a taste of an aspect of our way of life that we are not yet fully living.  In the next couple of years, we hope to have 2-3 sisters begin living in a hermitage setting where they will live in a house together and more fully embrace the contemplative life.

"By embracing a more intense living of our prayer and penance, we seek to offer ourselves as a sacrifice of praise and adoration of God who is supremely loved, and to offer ourselves as a sacrifice of love and intercession for all of God's people" (Constitutions #62).

Last Christmas I had the incredible gift of doing my own "hermitage experience".

During those two weeks I offered my work, prayers, and other daily activities for the intention of those who are in darkness- that they would come to know the light of Christ.  I prayed especially for those who, in their own woundedness and brokenness (because of past hurts), can't even imagine a God who loves them.

Throughout my time, the Lord allowed my to see His faithfulness and goodness.  Through scripture, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Mass and many other ways, God spoke to my heart and showed me over and over again that He was answering my prayers and accepting the small offering of my simple, hidden work.

A couple of weeks later many of the sisters, myself included, watched The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King.  If you have seen this movie you know there are many, many scenes portraying the powers of light versus the powers of darkness, but I was struck by one scene in particular and everything in me wanted to yell,

"PAUSE IT! Stop right here!  Let's just sit and pray with this!"

Faramir and his men are retreating from Osgiliath.  A dark shadow of clouds cover them and Nazguls are picking them off by the claw full as they ride to the protection of Minas Tirith.  Gandalf, the White Rider, rides out on his white horse to meet them.

As he approaches the impending darkness and retreating men he extends his staff and a powerful light radiates from it.

The entire scene changes.  The music/sounds go from the Nazguls screaming to what sounds like elves singing.

Immediately the Nazguls turn and flee from the light.  Gandalf then joins Faramir and his men and they all return to Minas Tirith safely.

I felt like I was watching, right there on the screen, what God had been doing in the people I had been praying for during my time in the hermitage!  

As I prayed for those who were in darkness God was sending his Holy Spirit (the light coming from Gandalf's staff) to enlighten their hearts and to disperse the evil that had been covering and pursuing them.  Jesus was bringing them under his protection, just as Gandalf brought his protection by his presence of riding to them and with them.

I also saw just how powerful the kingdom of light really is in relation to the enemy.  

The Nazgul are giant in comparison to the men, their screams deafening, and their claws sharp; yet when faced with the seemingly weak light from Gandalf's staff they flee immediately and go back to the darkness from where they came.

The devil seems big and brutal but he doesn't stand a chance against God's kingdom- God is always victorious!  The light wins over the darkness!

The Lord did not have to show me how he was hearing and answering my prayers and offerings during my "hermitage experience" but he chose to and as it all unfolded my faith was buoyed.

I began to pray with a more bold confidence as I lifted up people and situations to him because whether he shows me or not I know he is hearing my prayers and answering them according to his will.  As he does with all of our prayers!

May we all grow in prayer and intercession for the living and deceased!
-Sr. Sophia Grace Huschka, T.O.R.

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1 comment:

  1. This is such a beautiful and encouraging message and one that is definitely the heart and soul of Christ's ministry (the Lord of the rings too!) God bless you sister and thank you for your prayers


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