Lord Jesus Christ, You have chosen Elizabeth Ministry and RECLAiM Sexual Health to minister to those who experience challenges in the areas of procreation and sexuality. Please use us for Your glory and the growth of Your Kingdom on earth.
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer:
- for the founders, staff members, and ministers of EMI/RECLAiM, for their health and personal needs;
- for the financial needs of EMI/RECLAiM, and the generosity of supporters;
- for a greater respect for life from natural conception to natural death;
- for an end to child abuse and human trafficking;
- for the conversion of those involved in the abortion and porn industries;
- for the support of parents teaching their children/teens the virtues of modesty, chastity, Christian sexuality, and self-respect, and those whose children struggle with sexual identity;
- for those who seek to be married and those who struggle in their marriages;
- for married couples who seek to be pregnant, especially D. and E., and E. and J.;
- for those who grieve the death of their children through miscarriage or stillbirth;
- for support and help for mothers experiencing Postpartum Depression;
- for the students of RECLAiM, especially those who have asked for specific needs;
- for the spouses, fiancées and families of those in the RECLAiM program;
- for the staff members of diocesan centers around the English-speaking world, that they might become aware of the support that can be gained from the PASTORAL GUIDE: MISCARRIAGE, STILLBIRTH OR NEWBORN LOSS available from Elizabeth Ministry, and purchase a copy.
- for the completion and advancement of new publications from EMI/RECLAiM;
- for the needs of those who have agreed to be praying for our needs.
New Creation Bursts Forth
Are you one of those people who looks forward to the first daffodil or tulip in the spring? Or do you look forward to the first thunderstorm? the planting of the garden? the first campout? the first jump in the pool? the changing color of the fall leaves? or the first snowfall?
Have you ever thought about why we are a “forward-looking people”? My theory is that it’s part of our nature. We are constantly looking for change! We tend to seek something “new” or at least something “more”, basically, something to “look forward to”! Perhaps there is planted in our nature a deep, almost metaphysical, sense of “There’s gotta be more!” It’s like the child being pushed on a swing: “More, Daddy!! More, Daddy!”
Why do we look forward to a new outfit or a new hair style? maybe a new bedspread, a new picture on the wall? Aren’t we thrilled to hear of a new baby or some new neighbors? (Or are these ‘gal’ things?? Maybe you men look forward to a new set of wrenches or a new sport coat. Maybe the old one doesn’t fit any more! Maybe that’s why we women ‘need’ a new outfit as well!)
Remember Yellow and Stripe in the book Hope for the Flowers, the two caterpillars who struggled at first to get to the top of the caterpillar pillar? There must be more to life than this! Something in us yearns for “more.” (Remember, though: they found that the change they sought was within themselves.)
We know that there is more to life. Every Easter we are reminded of it! Passover has become Pass-Through! Our Lord Jesus has shown us how to pass through life’s difficulties. Jesus has shown us how to accept all of what humanity has to offer: betrayal, sorrow, fear, incredible physical suffering and even death. Jesus has shown us the power that comes from accepting what is not ours to change, even that of accepting the will of Another, God, His Father. By Jesus’ obedience, He has shown us that there is more to life, more to human life; Jesus has shown us that it is possible to survive death! We do look forward to everlasting, eternal life, life with no limitations to time, abilities, talents, or treasures. What a gift!
All these thoughts of eternal life are only part of the equation, however. We have been promised more to life on this earth through the power of God’s Spirit!
How is it that we go through life, watching the suffering of others but being incapable of doing much to help them? Do we not see that the Spirit of God lives in us today? Shortly after the event of Pentecost, in Acts 3, Peter and John, two of Jesus’ closest friends, looked with new eyes at someone who had been crippled from birth and they did what they had seen their Master do. They had seen Jesus’ power. They knew that Jesus was still — or again — alive, and they knew that He continued to walk with them in power. They did what Jesus would have done, and the crippled man jumped up and walked.
Knowing that Jesus is alive can make a difference in our lives today, even as it did in the lives of these first disciples after Pentecost, not to mention the life of the man who was healed!
Each of us has been “crippled” from birth, maybe not physically crippled, blind or deaf, but less-than-perfect because of fear, depression, poor self-confidence or low self-esteem. Many of us have been injured because of what others have done to us. Or not done. Being imperfect is part of our “looking-forward” condition. No matter how we cut or label it, we began life as imperfect people. (see John 9:2-5)
But let’s look again: We have been redeemed by the resurrection of Jesus. We are made new! By our baptism, we have become a new creation. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3) “If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)
Jesus’ Body was pierced with a lance as he hung lifeless on the cross (John 19:31-37). Blood and Water poured forth from his side, and has poured over the earth, making it fertile and fruitful (see Genesis 17:3-7 and Isaiah 55). From the dust (Genesis 2:7) of this newly-watered earth, a New Adam, a New Person, has been created. You and I are a New Adam, a New Eve, created on this “Eighth Day,” a New Day of creation! All we need to do is to reach forth our hands to accept the “fruit” of redemption: Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life!
Now is the time for each of us to burst forth from our cocoons or from the depth of our tombs! Saint Paul tells us (2 Corinthians 5:17-21) “Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”
Remember how, at Jesus death, the curtain of the temple was torn in two? (Matthew 27:51 and Mark 15:38) God’s presence is now attainable and no longer limited by space or time! Jesus is the new high priest, the ever-living access to the Father. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)
How fearful we have been! How weak in faith we are! (Luke 24:25-29) We must no longer remain crippled and helpless, but, accepting Jesus’ resurrection power, we can reach out to do as Jesus does, to heal those around us! Our humanity has been redeemed! We no longer need to live in weakness or fear!
We who are a part of Elizabeth Ministry are experiencing a particularly appropriate new creation as “Canticle People.” As such, you are asked to join us in reciting daily* the Magnificat, that is the Canticle of Mary (Luke 2:46-55), and the Benedictus, also called the Canticle of Zechariah (Luke 2:68-79). Like Mary, the Mother of the Lord, we welcome the life of Jesus that grows in our hearts and spirits. Like Zechariah, our timid tongues can be freed to burst forth in praise of the Lord and with encouragement to those around us. As we share Our Lord’s life and His presence with others at work or in the grocery store, the carpool or the day care, we have the opportunity to meet the needs of our friends and neighbors, to touch them with the Risen Christ and the Spirit of God. Our smile, and our kind words of appreciation or blessing are increasingly needed in a discouraged and alienated world.
In the tender mercy of our God,
The dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness
And the shadow of death,
And to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Today is the day to share our new life!
Let us live each day as though Jesus died yesterday,
and is coming back tomorrow!
*These Canticles (“songs/hymns of praise to God”) have been prayed daily for centuries as part of the Divine Office, more currently called the Liturgy of the Hours. These two Canticles are part of the traditional Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer and can be accessed on Universalis, Laudate or iBreviary. We also highly recommend the use of the Office of Readings, which includes a chosen reading for each day from the Old or New Testament, and a chosen reading for each day from the Church Fathers or one of our current or past Holy Fathers. A truly wonderful way to develop a personal or communal prayer time!