Gratitude. That's what's most on my mind this morning. I am very grateful.
It was a full weekend. I gave a retreat based on the "Spiritual Exercises" to 69 men at the Jesuit Retreat House ("Demontreville") in Lake Elmo, MN, a suburb of St. Paul. The retreat went very well. I had good individual conferences with many of the men and a good number of them enrolled in the Apostleship of Prayer at the end of the retreat.
Yesterday, Monday, was also a full day. Much of the afternoon was spent in final plans and preparations for our first-ever event which we called "Pasta and Prayer." The Cathedral of St. Paul kindly hosted us. I celebrated the parish's 5:15 Mass, concelebrating with Fr. Johnson, the pastor, and his associate, Fr. Myer, and Fr. Phil Hurley, the Apostleship of Prayer Director of Youth and Young Adults. At 6:00 we began a simple but delicious meal of rigatoni, sausage and peppers, salad, and brownies. At 6:45 we began the "Prayer" part of our program in which I gave a talk called "The Power of Praying for Others" and Fr. Hurley gave a talk called "Making Prayer Real in Daily Life." By means of these talks we were able to speak to many of our friends about the power we have praying together in the Apostleship of Prayer and we were able to make many new friends.
I'm particularly grateful because of the turn-out. We needed a minimum of 40 for the catered food and a week ago we had only about 30 signed up. We decided to go forward and plan on lots of left-overs, and we prayed. In the end we had 95 people show up. Happily we were able to get word to the caterer and there was plenty of food. The food for the soul was also well-received. And I learned another lesson in letting go and trusting.
Yesterday morning I also had the opportunity to meet for a half hour with Mother Rose of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Prioress of the Carmelite Monastery on property located next to the Jesuit Retreat House. I had not seen Mother Rose in a few years. The 12 Carmelite nuns at this particular Carmel are my prayer "back-up." I send them my schedule and they support me and the ministry of the Apostleship of Prayer with their prayers. I'm convinced that the success of this first "Pasta and Prayer" and the other blessings that the Apostleship of Prayer has received in the past few years are in no small measure due to the prayers of these good Carmelite Sisters and many other people.
Truly there is a power in prayer, especially when we pray together. And that is definitely something that leads to a lot of gratitude.