August Newsletter: Happy Feast of the Assumption
Happy Feast of Our Lady of the Assumption!
Before I share my reflection on today’s Feast Day, I must tell you that I am glad to be back from Rome. It was a business trip – meetings with the Order’s Minister General, who represents St. Francis on earth for us, and other Friars and lay people who work for the Franciscan Order. Not that I didn’t enjoy the company, food, and tours, but it was near 101-degrees every day – and they wouldn’t turn on the air-conditioner because Italians believe drafts from air-conditioning cause pneumonia – and then you die! I told them air-conditioning is a gift from God. They thought that was funny, but it still wasn’t enough to convince them to turn on the AC!
First, I want to thank all of you for your well-wishes and prayers. Your words of kindness and welcome are very encouraging. It is comforting to know that the Friars have your support so that we can respond to the many needs of the poor. Which brings me to a few thoughts on Our Lady of the Assumption.
Amazing things happen in our lives when we pray to Our Lady. I was witness to one such miracle. Her name was Gabriel, but everyone called her Gabby. She was a young woman who while in her first pregnancy, was diagnosed with a lump in her breast. The doctors told Gabby that she immediately needed some potentially harmful x-ray scans to better diagnose the possibility of breast cancer. Because of the potential harm to her unborn child, Gabby decided to wait until after the baby’s birth, even though the doctors told her this could be life-threatening to her.
I prayed with the family to Our Lady. Six months later, Gabby gave birth to a healthy newborn girl she named Mary! Also, to the doctor’s amazement, the subsequent scans showed that the lump had disappeared.
Then there is Kateryna, a young mother of three children, who was struck by a car and placed in a medically-induced coma. Doctors gave her a 50/50 chance of recovery because of severe internal injuries and bleeding on her brain. I prayed with her husband to Our Lady. Now, Kateryna is on her way to recovery.
Our Blessed Mother is our most powerful intercessor. Mary knows what to ask of Jesus – and how to ask Him. Remember the wedding feast in Cana? Mary simply told her Son that the wine had run out. This story is more than the miraculous transformation of water into wine. It’s about Jesus bringing his love into our lives at the request of his Mother. Now, as we celebrate this Feast of Our Lady of the Assumption, pray to Mary to intercede on your behalf with her Son. Mary never turns her back on us in our time of need. And remember, Our Lady asks only two things in return – that we pray, and that we answer the cry of the poor in their time of need.
One more thing about my Rome trip, one of my take-aways from the meetings was how Franciscan Friars – no matter where we are serving in the world, no matter what our cultural and language differences may be – we Friars all have a common care for the poor and those who society tends to ignore.
When I was praying in the Friary Chapel – without air-conditioning! – with 40 other Friars, many from other countries, I was reminded how we Friars are united in prayer and ministry to the poor in every time zone in the world!
The Franciscan Friars are able to respond to the cry of the poor – as Our Lady of the Assumption asks of us – because of your generosity. Your Franciscan Heart – your kindness and support of the Friars and our care for the poor – is heard around the world! Friars in Rome spoke of your dedication to the work of the Friars in the United States. What a compliment to you and to all of our supporters and friends!
Aside from my failure to convince the Friars to use air-conditioning, my trip to Rome was wonderful!
The Franciscan Friars all over our country and the world are working so hard every day to assist the poor who come to us in need. These children, women and men are desperate for food, shelter, medical assistance, and even simply a place to wash their clothes. You help us help them. We can’t do it without you! Thank you!
Please bring your intentions today and every day to Our Lady of the Assumption. The Franciscan Friars are praying for you to Mary that she will smile upon you from heaven for supporting the Friars and answering the cry of the poor.
Fr. David, OFM