Today we celebrate the commemoration of the Seven Founders of the Servite Order, a community of priests founded in Florence, Italy, just a few years after Saint Dominic founded our Dominican Order. And today, at Mass we read the passage from the letter of Saint Paul to the Romans which the Church chose for this celebration. I found it especially appropriate and helpful. During this illness of mine, I have found it difficult to pray; I find myself fearful when Our Lord enjoins trust; sad when the Word of God tells us to rejoice in our difficulties; somewhat rebellious when it asks us to accept the holy Will of God with total patience and toleration. Listen to what Saint Paul says: “The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts (God our Father) knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because He intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.”
I tell you these things not to ask for sympathy from you, although a number of my readers and hearers have sent very supportive and encouraging messages. I mention them because I hope to help you in your ups and downs, and let you know that you are by no means alone on your journey. The same Lord who says to us very often in the Scriptures “Don’t be afraid,” prayed in the Garden of Gethsemani, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me. However not as I will, but as you will it.” There is a time for great joy and exultation; there is a time for shrinking before suffering and confusion. Our Lord has known them both, and will be with us in our experiences of both. Later on in the eighth chapter of his letter to the Romans, Saint Paul says to us: “All things work for good for those who love God.” Let us do our best to love our God and then to accept what comes from his hands into our lives. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.