Wednesday, June 22, 2016

DIVINE COINCIDENCES


Do events in our lives happen by chance or are they planned by God?  Are we just at the right place at the right time or does the Lord put us where we need to be at the right moment?  Our lives are made up of coincidences which I prefer to call, and commonly referred to as, God incidences.  We have all had moments in our lives when there are really no explanations other than God’s intervention.  The first day I casually walked into a Pauline Book Center, which was life changing, was no coincidence.  Part of evangelization is sharing our stories – our God incidences.  I would like to share one of my mine.

A few years ago, a favorite radio personality suggested adopting a Bible verse and living it out during the approaching New Year.  I loved this idea; however, by mid-February I still could not decide on a verse.  Then, while attending a day of prayer, the priest mentioned the above verse in his opening comments.  I immediately loved it and decided this could be the right one for me.  While leaving the chapel and picking up my Pauline Prayer Book, the prayer card from my father’s funeral fell out.  On the front of the card was Micah 6:8.

A chill ran through me.  The card was chosen because it had the prayer of St. Francis on the back (my Dad’s name is Francis), but I did not remember the verse on the front from Micah.  My dad died in 2001; I had not looked at the card for years.  I truly felt this was a message.  If I had not been in the retreat chapel on that day and the prayer card did not fall, this incident would never have happened.

Since Father’s Day will be celebrated this month, I decided to dedicate this post to my father who taught me so well in his quiet and gentle way.  Evangelization is not only writing and talking about God’s love but living it out in our daily lives .  My father did not talk about his faith and religion but he lived it.  What was the message of my God incident?  What were God the Father and my dad telling me?  How could I apply Micah 6:8 to my daily life?  Some thoughts:

To Act Justly – Everyone wants to be treated fairly and with equality and dignity.  In our society today, this has become an important topic and has been in the news almost daily.  To act justly simply means to do the right thing and to follow the Golden Rule:
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you. “  St. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4:32:  “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven you” and in Colossians 3:12-14  “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

Lord, help me to treat others as I want to be treated, especially in the small annoyances of life when it is so easy to forget to be kind, patient and forgiving.

To Love Tenderly –  Our culture uses the word love so casually.  I witness tender love when I see the faces of new parents gazing down with unconditional love at their newborn or at a grieving person holding the hand of their loved one as they are saying their final good bye.  Who is a better example of tender love than our Blessed Mother who we, as Paulines, hold close to our hearts?  Mary is the most humble, gentle, tender and loving mother.

The familiar verse from 1 Corinthians 13:4 -5 sums up beautifully what tender love is:  “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.”
In Romans 12:10, St. Paul tells us, “Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.”
How do I treat the people in my life who I profess to love?

Lord, let me love tenderly – with compassion and mercy.

Walk Humbly With Your God -    As Paulines we are called to imitate Christ who said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.“  Nothing makes me feel more humble as when I am giving Communion at Mass, to the homebound or at a hospital.  Love this quote that speaks of humility from Pope John XX111:  “It often happens that I wake up at night and begin to think about a serious problem and decide I must tell the Pope about it.  Then I wake up completely and remember that I am the Pope.”
St. Augustine was asked which virtue was first.  He answered:  humility.  It is the foundation of all of the virtues.

Lord, help me to be humble.  Help me to live my life in humility and simplicity.

In closing, and since I am dedicating this to my father, please bear with me as I share another God
incident.  While volunteering at a local hospital one morning, I noticed a familiar name on my patient list.  I was assigned to visit my godfather who I had not seen in several years.  It was such a blessing to not only visit him but to give him one of his last Communions and then attend his funeral the following week.  Had I not been in the hospital that day and assigned to his room, I would not have this lasting memory.  A coincidence?

One more share…. I heard a story recently about a couple whose baby was born and was given only a short time to live.  While at home one evening, they picked up their Bible,  turned to the Gospel of Luke (the baby’s name) and randomly chose a page.  The first verse they saw was Luke 18:16:  “let the little children come to me.”  The baby died the next morning.  A coincidence?
Do you have a favorite Bible verse or God incident that has impacted you?  Please share.  It is an excellent way to evangelize!



Maryann Toth has been a Pauline Cooperator for eight years. Semi-retired as a credit/AR manager in NJ, she is a wife, a mother of two daughters, and a grandmother of four. She serves as a Eucharistic minister and belongs to a Divine Mercy Cenacle group. Maryann assists at Pauline book fairs and J-Club events, schedules meetings and prayer times for local Cooperators and friends of the Pauline Family, and accompanied a candidate in the Cooperator formation program. She participated in a Pauline Cooperator pilgrimage to Italy in 2010. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Paternity



As we approach Father’s Day, we have been reflecting on the notion of Paternity and Fatherhood in our faith and our relationship with God and what it means for our sense of place in the world and in the Economy of Salvation.

The Bible is full of numerous examples of the importance of paternity in the worldview of human culture in the ancient world and into the modern era. As early as the first few pages of the book of Genesis we see images of paternity in God’s creation of the world and of Adam, and at the end of chapter 2 we get the first instruction on man’s paternal responsibility: “And that is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.” (Gn 2, 24).
In chapter 5 of Genesis we see the record of the descendants of Adam, evoking the importance the ancient world placed on paternal lineage, and pre-figuring the genealogy of Jesus recounted in the first Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. “Adam was one hundred and thirty years old when he begot a son in his likeness, after his image, and he named him Seth.” (Gn 5, 3). This wording is identical to that used in describing the creation of man in the likeness and image of God. This connotes a sharing of the power of creation between God, Father and Creator and man, creation and in turn co-creator.  St. John Paul II, speaking in one of his Theology of the Body Catechesis sessions, said that “fatherhood is one of the most prominent aspects of humanity in Sacred Scripture,” giving this text as an example.
Adam is the first human father image we are given, and he is at once flawed in his sin of disobedience. This should give us an early warning against the worldly notion of the all-powerful authority figure of a human patriarch: mankind’s fatherhood is subject to flaw and sin, unlike God’s, even though ours is meant to be a reflection “in his likeness and image.” Genesis gives us further genealogies, from Adam to Noah, then from Noah’s son Shem to Abraham. Like most of us, these men have their good points and their failings.

In Abraham we have perhaps the finest Old Testament example of a human father. His faith and obedience to God are clearly shown – and chosen for emphasis – as he is held up in Genesis as a man God attracted (from a family that worshipped other gods) then tested and chose to be the father of an “innumerable race” in which his plan for reconciliation would unfold generations later in the person of Jesus.
Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus in chapter 1 is meant to show us that the Nativity of Jesus is indeed the fulfillment of the promise of God’s salvation in Isaiah 7, 14 and Samuel (2 Sm 7, 12-16). Fatherhood and lineage play a key role in bringing salvation into the world.

St. Joseph is a beloved devotion in our family, and although he is often listed among the “other”
devotions of the Pauline family, we always include him in our prayers right next to Mary. This is a particularly meaningful devotion for us, as St. Joseph is the adoptive father of Jesus. We found him to be a wonderful model and source of inspiration, hope and patience in the early years of consolidating our blended family, where Jim had to assume the role of step-father to adolescent girls. The Bible doesn’t tell us much about the challenges Joseph faced in raising Jesus – except for that little bit about leaving the caravan to go to the temple in Jerusalem without telling his parents – but it has been a great comfort to reflect on Joseph’s abiding trust in Divine Providence when faced with situations where we have felt at our wit’s end, lost and without clear answers. Imagine what Joseph must have been feeling when he could not find a place for his wife to give birth? Or when they fled into Egypt with nothing, just barely escaping Herod’s army of assassins? His trust in God in times of trial can be a great comfort for all men (and women) facing uncertainty and fear.


For the fathers reading this: what do you know about your lineage, your ancestry, the challenges the men in your past faced and dealt with? There are lessons to be learned in both the triumphs and the failures of these stories, and they are an excellent vaccine against the sins of pride, hubris and belief that we as human fathers must be all-powerful and obeyed.  And if the above exercise leads to us feeling down about the challenges of fatherhood, we only need recall the numerous examples of God’s mercy and aid given to those men who were faithful to Him, even when it meant going against social pressures.

As human fathers, we sacrifice our own self-interest and ego for the good of our wife, our family and our children, which in turn spreads out into society like ripples on a pond. In doing so, we more closely approach that definition of fatherhood in the image and likeness of God. The Bible is full of good examples, and so-called “good bad examples” to help us discern the better path when we are faced with difficult choices in guiding our families.
May the Divine Master intercede for all fathers that He might grant them the faith, trust and obedience of Abraham and Joseph as they strive to more perfectly reflect the image and likeness of God the Father in their roles in their family, the Church and the world today.
We wish you every blessing this Father’s Day.
Jim & Luisa McMillan
Holy Family Institute


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Jim and Luisa McMillan are members of the Holy Family Institute, which they entered in Colombia in 2000. They currently reside in Colorado with their youngest daughter, Maria, where they work as translators and interpreters. Their oldest daughter, Gabriela is married and lives in New York with her husband, Fidel, and their daughter, Emilia. Sara is currently attending graduate school in Michigan.



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

St. Paul and the Very First Pauline Cooperators

"I am imitating Paul as he imitates Christ."
Blessed Alberione, 1923

St. Paul was a gifted organizer of disciples for the apos­tolate. He created a wonderful network of bishops and priests in the missions he founded along the path of his voy­ages: a network of holy pastors. Before going to Jerusalem where his enemies were lying in wait for him, he wanted to leave a legacy for the bishops and priests of Mi­letus belonging to the jurisdiction of Ephesus. He gave them some words in testament: 
Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has constituted you overseers to shepherd the church of God... Be vigilant, and remember that for three years I did not cease day and night to admonish each of you with tears. Now I commend you to God. (Acts 20:28, 31-32)
Saying this, St Paul knelt and prayed with all of them, and great was the weeping of all those venerable bishops and priests who threw themselves at Paul's neck and kissed him. Saint Paul possessed the soul and heart of his disciples.

We know the name of a good number of St. Paul's first disciples -- bishops, priests and yes, the very first coopera­tors! They are our elder brothers: Alexander and Caius who were with Paul and suffered with him in the tumult of Ephesus; Erastus and Sosipater, who accompanied him and worked with him in the mission of Macedonia; Sosthenes and Tertius, his loyal secre­taries who transcribed Paul's dictation of the letters to the Cor­inthians and to the Romans. We also know of Tychicus and Tydricus, who carried and explained the letters to the Ephesians, the Colossians, and the Philippians; Silas, a Christian of Antioch; and Apollo, an eloquent man and versed in the Sa­cred. Dionysius the Areopagite was converted through the preaching of Paul and be­came the first bishop of Athens and Paris. Philemon offered St. Paul hospitality, and Aristarcus accompanied him in the prison in Rome. All of these were St. Paul's coworkers in the apostolate.

In his letters Paul affectionately remembers other coop­erators: the beloved Epaenetus, first fruits of Asia; the very dear Ampliatus; Urbanus, who worked with him; Stachi, beloved to him; Apelle who gave proof of his fidelity to Je­sus Christ; Rufus, an elect in the Lord; Asyncritus, Flegonte, Erma, Patroba, Erme, Dema, Filologus, Erodione, and Lucia. He remembers Jason and his relatives: Quartus, Zema, and Artemas. And Stephen, who had consecrated himself to the service of the poor Christians; Stefana, Fortunatus and Achaius, first fruits of the church of Achaia who carried from Ephesus the first letter that Paul wrote to the Corinthians. His coworkers re­stored his spirit so often, including Linus, the first successor of St. Peter; Onesiforus of Ephesus, who was not ashamed of the chains of his master; Onesimus, an unfaithful slave who converted and later became the bishop of Colossi; and Epafra, servant of Jesus Christ who con­tinually agonized in prayers for his brothers.

St. Paul remembers to the edification of other Christians Aquila and his wife Priscilla, baptized by him who then went on to help him establish the church of Cor­inth. He received help from Andronicus, his wife Giunia and their relatives, illustrious among the apostles as well as his companions in imprisonment; the senator Pudens and his wife Claudia, who worked with Peter and Paul in the evan­gelization of the Romans.

However, three especially were the disciples of St. Paul whom he loved with a love of predilection and cared for with singular tenderness and formed in the smallest details. To them he entrusted the most delicate tasks and gave special author­ity in his churches and among the other disciples. More than any others, they got his spirit and were his most faithful friends and cooperators. They are: Timothy, saint, martyr, and bishop of Ephesus; Titus, saint, confessor, and bishop of Crete; and Luke, saint, evangelist, and bishop of Philippi.

St. Luke was a physician. He wrote the third Gospel, the Gospel preached by St. Paul, the Gospel of the Gentiles and of the mercy of God. He wrote the Acts of the Apostles that are a most beautiful biography of St. Paul, inspired and dictated by the Holy Spirit. St. Paul writes: "In Troas my spirit was rest­less, because I did not find my brother Titus. But God who consoles the humble made me find him in Macedonia (2 Corinthians 2:13.)" St. Timothy was especially dear to St. Paul for his fidelity. Because of this the Apostle had him close to him most of the time, as a father with his son. He has him as companion in his preaching, travails and imprisonments. St. Paul calls him his beloved and his very dear one, a man of God, faithful to the Lord. And of him he writes: "I have no other like him that shares so well my sentiments and loves you with the most sincere affection. Know that he has helped me in the gospel as a son his father (Philippians 2:22.)"

The eye and the apostolic heart of St. Paul also led him to give to his mission those helpers that we say are the first "daughters of St. Paul." He recalls Eunice, the mother of Timothy, and his grand­mother Lois. He recalls the mother of Rufus, who had for him the care of a mother. He tells the Romans to greet Mary who bore much hard work for the Lord; Trifena and Trifosa who spent themselves so much for the Church; Perside, beloved in the Lord, Julia and Olimpia, sisters of the saints. To Phoebe, the sister who served the Church of Cen­cre, he gave the task of bringing the letter to the Romans; Lydia of Thyatira, a dealer of purple in Philippi, offered hospitality to St. Paul and to his dis­ciples after her conversion. Apphia, Philemon's wife and a very dear sister, gave hospitality to St. Paul in Colossi.

St. Paul succeeded wonderfully as he formed his disciples and his first daughters. His care for them was affectionate and attentive. He wrote to them often, Bishops, Priests or cooperators, housewives or deaconesses, widows or virgins. He admonished, prayed night and day with tears, gave out practical and effective rules of life, led by example.

The disciples were the garden that he cultivated with the exquisiteness and finesse of love. They were also his peace. 

Oh, if we could place at the service of God many lay persons! Can you have cooperators in this apostolate? Certainly, and you must get to this. To have the help of parish priests, and kind believers who know, who diffuse the Word.  Therefore, take good care of the cooperators and may such care become more and more wise. It would be important and useful to have a little center in every parish. Can you have it done by others?  Oh, if we could place at the service of God many lay persons! It would be a great glory to God and a contribution for the salvation of souls. - Blessed Alberione to the Sister Disciples on the Pauline laity; Opera Omnia

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Sr. Margaret Kerry, FSP, celebrates 40 years of life and mission as a Daughter of St. Paul. With a Masters from Boston College School of Theology & Ministry, she gives presentations on the vocation and mission of the laity, media literacy, and evangelization. She directed the Association of Pauline Cooperators for 15 years and was creative editor of The Pauline Cooperator magazine. An author (St. Anthony of Padua: Fire & Light; Strength in Darkness: John of the Cross), Sr. Margaret is working on a young adult book. You can reach her at mkerry@paulinemedia.com.





Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Our Catholic Lens

Saoirse Ronan in the film BROOKLYN.
I have recently connected with other Catholic media professionals in Hollywood and become utterly convinced that we, Catholics, see popular culture from a very different perspective than the rest of the world. The reason is our sense of sacramentality. You know, our faith is very concrete, tangible and earthy. God’s actual grace, His very self-communication, comes to us through very ordinary, material means, such as fire, water, oil, incense, artistic images, the Word, sounds, and even the theatricality of worship. The liturgy is lush with symbolism and signs that convey deep meaning and the very presence of God. Because of this sense of God being experienced and known through the concrete, material world-- this incarnational view of God becoming man and redeeming humanity-- we can then see the symbols and images of popular culture as a place where God is at work.

The symbols in some popular movies make it clear that as Catholics we can offer a sacramental lens to the overall meaning of the story, perhaps unbeknownst to the director and actors. In the movie Brooklyn (2015), Eilis[i] Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) receives written letters from her sister and mother in Ireland, whom she left behind to pursue a better life in Brooklyn, New York in the 1950s. Those letters are her connection to those she loves as she struggles with her loneliness and sadness in the bustling urban activity so unlike her rural Irish hometown.

From the slideshow "So You Want to
Be a Film Critic?" by Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP.

Click to view slideshow.

The written word transcends time in this story and offers a sense of belonging, communion and hope. Is that not also what the Word of God in the Scriptures provides for each of us? Reading the Word of God stirs in us a longing for a life beyond this world, a desire to be connected with God, the Creator of all. The Bible is “God’s letter to his children,” as Alberione [ii] would say. It is interesting that the priest in the film is the conduit for the ongoing connection to Ireland, yet at the same time he is the one helping Eilis to become settled into her new life in Brooklyn. People are sometimes “letters” of God to us, since they are often the means through which we receive the grace and mercy of God.
 
 Booklyn the Movie
Learn more about the film Brooklyn.
There is the call to “focus” our sacramental lens upon the culture so that we can bring a Catholic understanding to not only the obviously religious artifacts, but even ones whose more profound meanings might be hidden from the casual viewer. Let us hone our Catholic cultural imaginations to see God at work in the world around us and point out the deep human desires that ultimately lead one to God, who is Being Itself—the One, the True and the Beautiful.

To be continued….


[i] the name "Eilis" is the Irish Gaelic form of Elizabeth or Alice.
[ii] Blessed James Alberione, the Founder of the Pauline Family which includes five religious congregations, four lay institutions and one association. This blog, written for everyone, focuses specifically on the Pauline charism and its application in the apostolate of the laity.   



Sr. Nancy Usselmann is a Daughter of St. Paul, a congregation of women religious dedicated to evangelization in and through the media, and a Media Literacy Education Specialist. She has degrees in Communications Arts and a Masters in Theology and Arts. For over 25 years, Sr. Nancy has given numerous media mindfulness workshops, presentations and film retreats around the country to youth, young adults, catechists, seminarians, teachers and media professionals helping them to create the dialogue between faith and media. Sr. Nancy is currently Manager of the Pauline Books & Media center in Redwood City, CA and recently appointed Director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Culver City, CA

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pope St. John XXIII

“Our greatness, our glory is found in our serene daily efforts – without excess – marked by profound love for Jesus. In our daily effort to carry out the duty Providence has assigned us, we should give more attention to doing the little things well rather than trying to accomplish great works.”  Secret to Happiness: Wisdom from John XXIII (Classic Wisdom Collection, Pauline Books and Media).

Pope St.John XXIII: a typically wry quotation
My affection for Pope Saint John XXIII began sometime late in 2008, after discovering a new movie on his life from Ignatius Press Studios staring Ed Asner.  Honestly, my decision to watch was based purely on curiosity as to whether or not Ed Asner (of Mary Tyler Moore fame) could pull off playing the role of a pope.  I knew very little about recently canonized Saint John XXIII but was quickly drawn into this recounting of his life, ministry and papacy.  For the record, Ed Asner performs incredibly believably in the role of a humble, holy and witty John the 23rd!  At the end of the movie, Mr Asner had not only won himself a new fan girl but also had a new one for the affable pope. 

In an effort to learn more about the real Pope John XXIII, I took to the internet. After being raised Catholic in a marginally Catholic home, and disconnecting for several years; I “reverted” back to practicing the faith in 2005.  My knowledge of the Catholic faith, especially of the early Church and  the papacy, was extremely limited.  After reading so much about John XXIII's incredible reign as pope, I wanted to experience his spirituality in his own words.  I picked up Journal of a Soul: Autobiography of Pope John XXIII; and our spiritual love affair bloomed.  The only thing about this fabulous book I did not like was the size!!  While it is a blessing to have so much of his personal thoughts and writings to contemplate, it is a wee bit bulky for my pocketbook or 'adoration reading materials' bag. **Although, the majority of the spiritual reading I bring with me for my Adoration Holy Hour can be found on smart phone or iPad; I still love bringing books and novena pamphlets with me. These help me from straying off my reading and into social media on those days my resolve is weak!
Secret to Happiness @Pauline Books and Media

This is true of many of my favorite books by the Saints and classic Catholic thinkers and writers – hence my love affair with the Classic Wisdom Collection from Pauline Books and Media.  Therese of Lisieux, John Paul II, Francis de Sales, Luis Martinez, and so many others!

In Secret to Happiness: Wisdom from John XXIII , my spiritual journey with this dear Pope continued. As often happens when you seek guidance from the Holy Spirit; the theme and teachings contained in this book came at the most perfect time.  Struggling with envy and self-absorption, especially in my work, I found in Pope St. John XXIII the perfect words to guide me forward to God and away from these sinful inclinations.  John XXIII shared his own battle with these topics – which given how humble and obedient to God's will he always appeared -- brought me great comfort and hope!

Along with the reminder to focus on my daily work, to be diligent and mindful of the importance of even the littlest task if done for the glory of God (as expressed in the opening quote of this piece), Pope St. John XXIII gave me additional words of wisdom. Another of my favorite lessons came in his discernment of how to reconcile his desire to be a saint with confusion on finding the path God had for him to accomplish this goal.  This goal of sainthood, I will remind us, is God's will for every man and woman, not just popes! He wrote, “Well then, I do not want to become a saint by defacing an original painting in order to become an unsatisfactory copy of someone else with a character markedly different from my own.”   This statement hit a bulls-eye on the jealousy with which I had been wrestling.  As I watched other people succeed with projects that brought them recognition or perceived holiness, I longed for those same opportunities.  I was convinced that if I could be blessed with the same chances, my road to heaven and pleasing God would be fulfilled.

John XXIII taught me not to try to rework the masterpiece of another to fit me, but to allow God – through the submission of my will to His – to mold me into the original work of art I was created to be.  I was not created to be a carbon-copy; evidenced by my unique fingerprint and dental imprint (perhaps I need to watch a little less CSI – regardless the point still remains).  “I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139). Jealousy and self-love have no place in the work of sanctification; His love and grace are sufficient to bring us all to sainthood, if we allow Him to accomplish His great work within us.

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Allison Gingras is the founder of www.ReconciledToYou.com (RTY); and host of A Seeking Heart on Breadbox Media weekdays 10 am ET. Allison created the "Words with" daily devotional App Series: Words with Jesus and Words with Mary. Allison offers retreats and talks on: Forgiveness; Works of Mercy; Trust and JOY!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Mary, Mother and Teacher of Apostles


“Following the Apostles, all announcers of the Gospel, the preachers of the divine Word, set out from the feet of Mary.” Blessed Alberione

I recently saw the 2015 film release, “Full of Grace: The Story of Mary the Mother of Jesus” which beautifully captures this quote of our Founder. In this “breathtaking film and celebration of faith,” set in Jerusalem in 43 AD, Mary is seen living out her final days on earth in reflection. She looks back on all she has experienced in her life with Jesus, from His birth through His resurrection. Mary saw, she remembered and meditated. “She treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Lk 2:19, 51)

Full of Grace: The Story of Mary of NazarethAnd as the Mother of the Church, having been present with the Apostles at Pentecost, she now counsels and supports the Apostles, helping them to navigate the turbulent waters of the early Church. In the film she is shown in a particular way assisting St. Peter with her wisdom and strength. She encourages him to remember and be still; "when you are still Peter, where does he call you?" She helps Peter to see that it is the Spirit of Jesus who calls him forth. And it is this same Spirit who is leading the Church. "You are not leading, Peter, you are following. He has already gone before you." 

This was and still is her role as Mother of the Church and Queen of the Apostles. The Apostles had undergone a tremendous crisis following the death of Jesus. They had needed someone who they could trust, who they could turn to for guidance and support. They had found this person in Mary.

Mary is there for each one of us, too, She has much to teach us. "You cannot let the weight of this world outshine the light that you carry within." "The walk of faith comes with a promise: the promise that we will never be alone." "Listen to the stillness, the silence..." "The question is not whether we will struggle. We will struggle greatly. The question is, to whom do we look in the struggle?" "We remember, we listen, we follow and we trust...It is time to tell the world the Good News!"

And we Paulines are all about telling the world the Good News! In these final days of May we continue our walk with Mary. We gather around her as did the first Apostles so many years ago. We ask her to teach us, to guide and support us, as she did them. We ask her to obtain all the grace we need in our apostolate today. We want to respond every more faithfully to the needs of our times, and she is there to assist us with her guidance and support.

Blessed Alberione wisely tells us, “Mary is the Queen of Apostles. If we are to perform the apostolate, let us stay with Mary. ... [T]o exclude Mary from the apostolate would be to ignore one of the most essential parts of God’s redemptive plan. We would deprive ourselves of the powerful intercession of Mary.” Let us renew our love and devotion to her, our Queen of Apostles. Let us set out from her feet as did the first Apostles. In this way we can be confident that our efforts will bear good fruit.

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Sr. Laura R. Brown has been a Daughter of St. Paul since 1985 and has been assigned to many communities. Her current assignments in St. Louis, MO, include outreach, as well as assistance with Pauline Book & Media Center events. She has an MA in  parish evangelization and theology and participated in the Pauline Charism Course in Rome from 2008 to 2009.