Dear Companion of St. Anthony,
We usually say that if March come in like a lion, that it will go out like a lamb, but what about February? This month has certainly come in like a lion and it is still snow as I write this reflection. Over the last few weeks, the psalm response has repeated itself: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” On February 2, the church marks the celebration of the Presentation of the Lord, this is also designed as World Day of Consecrated Life. Here at the Shrine of St. Anthony we are initiating our Vocation Statue of St. Francis of Assisi. This statue will be sent to a home each week and we will ask that these families or individuals to pray for religious vocations – especially to our Franciscan way of life. Although you may not be able to host our statue, pray for men and women to encounter Jesus and develop a deep relationship with him, pray that those called to religious life might not harden their heart to the call of Jesus.
Loving God, the provider of all our needs, we ask that you bless the Franciscan Friars Conventual with an increase of vocations. Provide from among us those who will lead and work with us in priestly and consecrated service. As you call, so may you also provide the context for listening so that they may respond with generosity and joy. Form our hearts so that we may be a people given to Gospel living and generous for Christian service. Help us all to discern and pursue our vocation in life with strength and courage, making of us a priestly people. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, the priest and servant of our hearts. Amen.
During this month all of us will be invited into the journey of the Lenten season being asked to turn away from sin and to be faithful to the Gospel. Let us keep one another in prayer that we may remain firm in our faith and our Lenten practices.
God Bless you always and, in all ways,