Praying Our Hopes

by Susan McCarthy, RDC

 

Sisters of the Divine Compassion. This is not a mere name. It is a great, a grand reality.

In it is all we hope to be.

THOMAS S. PRESTON

 

With God all things are possible.

MARK 10:27

 

As I write this reflection on hope, millions of Americans are heartsick at what they see happening in the once beautiful Gulf of Mexico, its beaches and the thousands of communities that live and work along its shores. Each day for more than two months, thousands of barrels of oil have been pouring into the water from an underground oil well. We are heart-sick because there seems no way to stop this horror. We are already seeing the terrible results in the faces of thousands of our fellow Americans who have had their lives and livelihoods disrupted for not the first time. We see it as well on the beaches of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida and in the pictures of oil-soaked pelicans and other sea creatures.

 

It is an event such as this (and so many more in our world, our church and our country) that speaks to the challenge of finding and bringing hope to our everyday lives and the lives of those we meet and relate to each day.

 

Catastrophes such as this one can bring out the worst in us unless we remember the constant invitation we find in Scripture, “Do not be afraid.” Our Scripture provides wonderful assurance of

God’s promise to be with us in the most difficult of situations, just as God was with Abraham, Sarah, and Moses and throughout all of salvation history.

 

We are asked to be resurrection people, people who remember that Jesus did just as he had promised. He rose from the dead and overcame the struggle and death that had seemed to claim him and his followers. We are called to help others rise from their struggles and challenges to see a future of new, life-giving possibilities.

 

Father Ronald Rolheiser suggests that like the women who were the first to know of Jesus’ resurrection, “. . .we are all, women and men alike, called to respond to the resurrection. . . by becoming midwives of hope and trust.” Just as midwives provide encouragement and support to those preparing to give birth, just as they teach these women to breathe and assist in bringing forth new life, we are called to do the same for those who feel most alone and needy.

 

To be such a midwife we must believe in possibilities that are not immediately apparent. We must believe in the promise of Isaiah 43:19 that God is bringing about something new and that each of us is called to be part of this reality. We do this by living lives of understanding and forgiveness in the midst of hostility, opposition and misunderstanding. We are called to proclaim by our lives, as did Mary Magdalene, that Jesus Christ is truly risen!

 

For one hundred and twenty-five years, Sisters of the Divine Compassion and those who minister with us have followed the example of Mother Mary Veronica who offered hope to young women and children mired in poverty in New York City, indeed in places throughout our nation and our world. We have brought this spirit to schools and parishes, to programs and ministries for the poor and needy. We have brought this spirit of hope wherever Sisters of the Divine Compassion and their Associates have served and ministered.

 

Today we continue to offer hope by our lives and our belief that our compassionate presence is still needed at times and in places that are often challenging and difficult.

 

For those living in fear, both physical and emotional . . .

Teach us to be midwives of HOPE!

 

For those who are confused and questioning . . .

Teach us to be midwives of HOPE!

 

For those who are hurting and discouraged . . .

Teach us to be midwives of HOPE!

 

For those who struggle to be faithful . . .

Teach us to be midwives of HOPE!

 

Let us live lives that speak to our belief in all the promises our God has made to us!

 

Watercolor by Patricia Sheridan, RDC