Day Nine of our Novena of Grace: for those of you on-line praying with us, we are thankful that you have joined our community prayer. The last morning Eucharist with Fr. Mike and Kathleen, sharing a dialogue with us, with each other and with God was palpable. No words could describe a Novena we need to end but for participants so hard to leave this place, this touch, these words, this embrace of friendship in God.
Fr. Mike reconnected us with the spirit of Francis Xavier, Ignatius of Loyola’s best friend whom he missioned to the Far East, never to return and be seen in this lifetime. Francis Xavier preached the gift of mercy. He is our patron and though we do not speak about him, we carry his spirit and we preach the gospel for our time; as he did and as Jesus before him. We are all on this sacred and courageous journey of the heart–at our crossroads where God connects with us, right here at 43rd and Powell. Each day we have prayed into the Body and Blood of Christ, we have prayed into blessings with vowed crosses and hands of mercy; we have prayed into the healing faces of one another and have seen how precious we are in God’s sight.
“Be what you see; become what you are.” Kathleen reiterated Fr. Mike’s prayer with the Lamb of God that as the Body of Christ we become “Islands of Mercy,” “Faces and Hands of Mercy.” We have come to the Table of the Lord and left our desires of the heart in His hands. We are ones he looks at; we are the ones sent, the ones to take notice, the ones who actually see our brother and sister in need.
That Novena holy card picture of Pope Francis embracing the uplifted boy–Fr. Mike gave us the background to that Easter Sunday resurrection symbol. Dominic was the boy’s name. Like him, we have been lifted up, face to face. As Francis holds him, we were lifted in prayer for God to hold us. Like Dominic, we have such comforting joy in our faces.
Kathleen talked about how privileged she was to experience our vulnerability: in our prayers, petitions, our expressions, our silence. She talked of peace, real “resurrection peace.” Her memory of a Vigil Easter Mass by Fr. Roberto brought tears as parishioners exchanged peace on this “night like no other.”
Fr. Mike and Kathleen have read all your prayers, carried them, and now send us like Ignatius did to Francis Xavier: to become Faces and Hands of Mercy.