Monday, February 10, 2014

Pray for Us

Each year, members of the Franciscan family around the
world gather to remember the passing of St. Francis:
his transitus, into eternal life on October 3rd.
I spent the day in prayer with my family. Visiting each one and praying an “Our Father" and a "Hail Mary" with them.  I brought flowers for each of them, too. It was a nice day spent at the cemetery. Did he say, "Cemetery?" Yes, I did. My family has a strong devotion to the communion of saints. 

When it came time for my admission interview weekend with the Franciscan Friars of the Saint Barbara Province, I naturally visited St. Peter's Cemetery.  I prayed with my relatives to ask God for guidance and direction. Who better to pray for me, and with me, than the ones who rest eternally in God's presence? As I visited each grave, I recalled their own journey in life.

I reflected on my great-grandmother, Helen “Bee” Macnab. She was a woman of faith, who was awarded the Benemerenti Medal. A medal instituted by Pope Gregory XVI in 1832 and is conferred on those who have exhibited long and exceptional service to the Catholic Church, their families and community. "Lord, may I serve your Church and family with the same fortitude as my great-grandmother," I said as I visited her grave.

I visited my great aunt and uncle, Helen and Pix Medler. Helen had a great love of the Mother of God. "Pray that I might have the same zeal for her," I said. I spent time with my great uncle Bob Macnab who had a great love of life. "Pray that I might find the goodness in all of life and like you celebrate it," I said as I stood over his grave.   As I visited more graves, I continued to pray and reflect on their lives.

My trip around the cemetery ended at the grave of my grandfather, Francis William Macnab. As I stood there, I recalled one of my last conversations with him. We had just finished celebrating Mass in his hospital room. "He would make a good Franciscan wouldn't he, Bill?" said Fr. Gus, a Franciscan, to my grandfather. I stood there and nervously laughed. My grandfather eyes widened and said, "Yes, he would." Soon afterwards the hustle and bustle in his room started.  He waved me closer and said, "Follow your heart, my grandson, and it will lead you to Him." A few weeks later, he would pass away.

I had forgotten that moment until I was standing at his grave, praying with him for my admission interview weekend. "How could I have forgotten that moment," I said to myself. Yet, here I was, ready to leave tomorrow for my admission interview. I was nervous, and it would be his words, spoken so many years past, that would bring tranquility and direction to my heart. "Follow your heart, my grandson, and it will lead you to Him."  In that moment, I sent up a pray of gratitude for my grandfather’s continual presence and guidance within my life through the communion of saints.

Today, I am a professed Franciscan Friar of the Province of Saint Barbara.  God continues to call and I continue to draw strength and support from the lives of my family and the communion of saints.  Now, as a Franciscan Friar, I also have the lives of the Friars who have gone before me, too.  Each night ever friary (house were friars live) reads aloud from the Necrology (book of friars who have passed away) about the Friars who died on that day.  We recall their life, ministry, and sacrifices.

I encourage you to recall the stories of your ancestors.  Remember their gifts, strength and faith.  Incorporate their best qualities into your life.  Learn from their mistakes, too.  Finally, ask them to pray for your discernment process.  Who better to pray for you, and with you, than the ones who rest eternally in God's presence?  While you are at it why not spend some time reading about the lives of the saints, too.

May God bless you and keep you on this journey of faith called life!

The Province of Saint Barbara's postulants carve pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns to greet children trick-or-treating on Halloween.  Halloween (a contraction of "All Hallows' Evening"), is a yearly celebration observed on October 31, the eve of the Catholic Christian feast of All Hallows (or All Saints Day).  A day Catholics celebrate the lives of the Saints known and unknown in Heaven.

Peace & all Good,
Bro. Scott Slattum, OFM

P.S.  Consider reading the book "Francis: The Journey and the Dream" to learn more about the life and works of St. Francis of Assisi.

Personal Reflection:

According to the National Religious Vocation Conference new member to religious life are more likely to say that they were attracted "very much" by the life and works of its founder.  Are you attracted to the life of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare of Assisi?  What about their lives or works speak to you?  Please share your answer in the comment section below.

Contact Information:

Franciscan Friars
Office of Vocations
1500 34th Street
Phoenix, AZ 94601
Phone:  (408) 903-3422

No comments:

Post a Comment