‘’A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers the giver into the presence of the Great.’’ Proverbs 18:16
A Word of Hope
The Season of Pentecost begins next Sunday, the time of year when the Gifts of the Spirit abound and the gift of prayer is always available to each of us. The Order of St. Francis and St. Clare will be honoring the upcoming Season of the Spirit in our prayers at our reflect Service on Wednesday. Clare of Assisi had a very specific method of praying. Being a very visually oriented individual, she would first gaze intently on an object that somehow inspired her to pray. She would allow some time for gestation, and spend the rest of her prayer time allowing that original image to give birth to an action the prayer inspired. Many things invited her gaze and nurtured her prayer life; an icon, a cross, a child’s smile, or a small gift from a friend.
I often find myself living out Clare’s method when I gaze upon any gift given to me or donated to the Children’s Ministry. I have a good friend who makes a lot of out of town trips. On his return, I can always expect for him to drop by with some sort of inexpensive but meaningful little souvenir of his most recent visit. I keep them lined up on a shelf in my house and every time I glance at them I am moved to send a little prayer for my friend; for his well-being, for his safe travels.
A few years ago, the Children’s Ministry, along with the rest of our church family, started a campaign to collect shoes for children in Iraq. A church member with connections there had informed us of the Iraqi children’s desperate need. The congregation’s generosity was overwhelming to the point that I still notice the shoes of the privileged children in my life. Using St. Clare’s prayer method, I am inspired to remember the continuing urgent shoe needs of our neighbors around the world.
Another time, this generous congregation donated thousands of Beanie Babies or small toys to an orphanage in South Africa where the children were suffering with AIDS complications. Gazing on a Beanie Baby or any other small stuffed toy generates the same sort of prayers in me, reminding me of the gifts of thousands of toys and necessities our ministries have sent and are still sending to our neighbors in need both here and overseas
Who could use a gift from you today? In both the giving and the receiving, the Proverb reminds us, we can experience the presence of God.
Create a generous spirit in me this day, O God.
Minister for Children and Families
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare