Monday, March 23, 2009

Texting God


And the Saints.
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When I was in 5th grade, I began volunteering at the Little Sisters of the Poor. One day I noticed one of the sisters putting a slip of paper beneath the statue of St. Joseph in the pantry. I asked sister what she was doing and she answered, "We are low on bread, so I'm just reminding St. Joseph."
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I looked at her slightly puzzled and so she tried to explain, showing me all the other little notes that were there, and she said, "In addition to our vocal prayers, it is our custom to sometimes write our prayers of petition and thanksgiving, and place them near St. Joseph's statue. He is our special patron and he always answers us." In fact, just as I was leaving that afternoon, even though it was a Saturday, a local bread company delivered several trays of day old bread. Another sister told me such things happen all of the time. As an adult, I've had similar experiences.
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Yes, I adopted the practice, but only for really important, even desperate petitions. In fact, every monastery I've ever lived in has a little slip of paper with a prayer from me on it - so hidden, only a heavenly person could read it. Naturally, these slips of paper were not my only expression of prayer, they were simply the physical evidence of a spiritual work.
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Recently, while going through papers, books, and religious images I have in storage, I came across petitions dating back 10, 20, even 30 years. One constant petition was on each of them, written in my most minute printing. I smiled, and thanked God, who is rich in mercy, for having answered my prayer. It may take many years of persevering prayer, but God answers every one. Nothing is impossible for God.

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"For by grace you were saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them." - Ephesians 2: 4-10

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Today I pray that God will make me the man he created me to be.

15 comments:

  1. I learned the very same act of devotion from the Little Sisters. Without sounding superstitious I have to say it never failed. And its amazing how exact it can be.

    Once when I was a college kid I put a slip of paper under my statue of St. Joseph with the total amount needed to buy a new guitar. I put a bowl in front to collect the money. Pennies, coins, a few bucks went into it. Then one day soon after a relative saw it and asked what it was all about. I told him. Next thing I knew a check for the balance was in the bowl!

    Another time I wrote out all the things I needed in an apartment I had to find to rent. Started novena prayers and apartment hunting. Found one that everyone wanted. I got it. When friends came over they could follow the floor plan by reading my peitition note...thats how exact my prayer was answered.

    St. Joseph is great and the Little Sisters are awesome.

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  2. Needed this. Thanks and thanks to the sister who was reminding God.

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  3. Really, really inspiring.

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  4. OK - I like this a lot! Going to start doing it TODAY!!

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  5. Good post, Terry. Would a statue of any saint do, or just a St Joseph statue?

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  6. Larry, If you were praying to St. Joseph I would think you would want to give him the note. ;)

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  7. You mean he won't pass it along if I was praying to, say, St Francis? ha ha As my kids would say, duh, Dad!

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  8. Larry - well you can do that too.

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  9. +JMJ+

    Terry, nine days before the Solemnity of St. Joseph, my parish priests put a pen and some little slips of paper right next to one of our statues of St. Joseph. Since it would be impractical for everyone to slip their petitions under the statue, the priests also provided a cork board with thumbtacks right to him.

    Would you know if this devotion is mostly connected to St. Joseph or if it's practiced with the other saints as well?

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  10. The slip of paper thing always works for me.

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  11. Clena, Carmelites do it too. ;)

    Enbretheliel, I remember at Lourdes there was a huge wire basket people would leave their notes in, right at the grotto. People also leave written prayers at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. There is usually an intention book in adoration chapels as well. So the custom may be employed with any saint. I have done it with the Infant Jesus many times, little kids love notes.

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  12. I love this post. It gives me hope that maybe I could overcome some of my sins. If not today but at some point. Repeating , and confessing the same sins is so discouraging.
    Hope your not mad at me anymore.

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  13. Belinda, I'm not mad at you at all. Glad to hear from you.

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