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Prayer/Reflection Service for the Feast of the Visitation, May 31, 2015

Sister Joan Mahoney, CND

Prayer/Reflection Service

A Gift for the Feast of the Visitation: Sister Joan Mahoney, CND has prepared a prayer service. She has incorporated the Climate Change Stance with our Feast Day.

Introduction:  As you renew your Associate commitment this Feast of the Visitation, you are invited to take a stand on Climate Change by the Congregation.  From the Central Office of the Associate Relationship, you have received Sr. Jo Badali’s letter announcing “Now is the opportune moment for us to join together in solidarity, to act together, to use our collective voice to effect change.  Now is the time for us to take a concrete, collective action in support of actions against climate change.”  You also received from the Central Office a Reflection Before Renewal of Commitment to reflect on whether you wished to sign this Corporate Stand at the time of your renewal.  This prayer service seeks to combine reflection on the Visitation with appreciation and concern for our earth.  

Opening Suggested Song: Simple Gifts (Ave or Songs of the Visitation © KP Deignan, CND, Adapted from a Shaker song text)

O, the simple gifts of God are flowing like an ocean,
And I will strive with all my might to gather in my portion.
I love, I love the gifts of God, I love to be partaker,
And I will labor day and night to be a New World maker.

Opening Prayer:

Creator God, your divine energy constantly imagines and shares, pours out life, splashes, bubbles and overflows into dreams and visions, newness and birth, silence, peace and appreciation.  

As we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation, grant us God, the capacity to wonder, to stand in awe as did Mary and Elizabeth at the new life within them.  Amen. –Seeds of Hope, Linda Jones, adapted

Reading - Luke 1:39 – 56

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

Reading from The Reed of God, Caryll Houselander

The Advent, the seed of the world’s life, was hidden in Our Lady.
Like the wheat seed in the earth, the seed of the Bread of Life was in her.
Like the golden harvest in the darkness of the earth, the Glory of God was shrined in her darkness.
All her experience of the world about her was gathered to Christ growing in her…  
Looking upon the flowers, she gave Him human sight.  Talking with her neighbors, she gave Him a human voice.  The voice we still hear in the silence of souls saying: “Consider the lilies of the field.”…
Breaking and eating the bread, drinking the wine of the country, she gave Him His flesh and blood; she prepared the Host for the Mass.
This time of Advent is absolutely essential to our contemplation too…
We must be swift to obey the winged impulses of His Love, carrying Him to wherever he longs to be; and those who recognize His presence will be stirred, like Elizabeth, with new life.  They will know His presence, not by any special beauty or power shown by us, but in the way that the bud knows the presence of the light, by an unfolding in themselves, a putting forth of their own beauty.

Reading - Writings of Marguerite Bourgeoys

The sun proclaims this truth, that unless the Creator sustained it, it would fall back into nothingness.  The rocks tell that they received their firmness and strength from God.  The smallest creatures repeat the same in a language which is mute to humankind.  

Reading - Climate Change – Taking a Stand

We are members of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal, a congregation of over 900 women religious committed to education and present on four continents.  Approximately the same number of associates also shares our mission.  Our presence in certain more vulnerable regions of the world, namely Africa and Central America, make us acutely aware of current global risks.  The plight of women is one of our biggest concerns.

Our Demand/AskFaced with the extreme urgency of the situation, we strongly call upon you, the Heads of State, to make a firm, concerted and binding commitment against the threat of global warming and to counteract the catastrophic consequences.  For our part, we commit to support the positive decisions you will make on this matter.  

(The Congregation’s stand will be sent to the UN Conference on Climate Change, Paris, November 30 to December 11, 2015)

Reflection (you may wish to share a phrase from a reading that strikes you or respond to one of the questions below)

  1. Am I coming to experience the quickening of Christ’s presence in all of creation?
  2. Can or does Visitation expand for me to meeting the Creator in the rocks, in the smallest creatures?
  3. Do I feel called at this time to sign the Congregation’s Climate Change statement/demand? (You have complete freedom in signing or not signing this statement.)

Leader:

In “the same spirit of grace that has gathered us together…a spirit of charity, of simplicity, of littleness, of poverty, of detachment from all things and surrender to God.” (WMB, p.187), let us renew our commitments.   

Renewal of Vows by Sisters:

To reaffirm my response to the call of God, and to live my baptismal consecration, I, Sister _________________, renew the vow I made freely and for the rest of my life, to observe poverty, chastity, and obedience, according to the Constitutions of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal.

Inspired by the spirituality of Mary in the Visitation and in her life among the Apostles, I wish by this covenant to praise God who is ever faithful, to render God thanks by my entire life, and to share with my brothers and sisters the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ.

Renewal of Commitment by Associates:

Responding to a call to live more fully my baptismal consecration, I, _____________, renew my commitment as an Associate of the Congregation de Notre Dame.  I wish to integrate in my life the charism of Marguerite Bourgeoys, Visitation-Pentecost spirituality, and the CND Mission Orientation, in keeping with my personal vocation.

Associates sign the Renewal of Commitment and those who wish to do so sign the Climate Change: Taking a Stand statement

Music or Song while signing:    Suggestion:

Living Water (Ave or Songs of the Visitation © KP Deignan, CND)

Let us be as living water, crystal clear,
springing up from the fountains of the Savior.

Unless our lives are joined unto their source,
we shall not be refreshment for all those who thirst.

We pray to join our lives unto their source,
and so we follow Mary’s way and Mary’s course.

She is the wellspring of the living one.
She is the overflowing of God’s graciousness.

Intercessions:  Let us bring our petitions to our loving God. ResponseGracious God, hear our prayer.

  1. For fidelity in living our commitment to protect our planet as was stated in the CND Mission Orientation, General Chapter, 2011, we pray with eager hearts . . . 
  2. For those becoming Associates on May 31, Anne Hogan, Pat Maloney, Carol Piscitelli and for those who became Associates in September, Suzanne Fandel, Barbara Hecht, Bernadette Pavlowski, Ronnie Gilligan-White and Jennifer Hollis, we pray with joyful hearts…..
  3. For the 16 Candidates for the Associate Relationship in our Province, we pray with expectant hearts…. 
  4. For those who celebrate 25 years of being Associates, Lorelei Grabow, Sharon Longtin, Debbie Mallaney and Sisters celebrating their Jubilee of 50, 60 and 70 years, we pray with grateful hearts…
  5. In thanksgiving for the release of Sr. Gilberte Bussière, Fathers Marta and Allegri, last May 31 and for continued remembrance of the girls of Nigeria and all those suffering from captivity, we pray with faithful hearts…
  6. For the deceased CND Sisters and Associates of Blessed Sacrament Province who have traveled the Visitation journey before us, especially those who have died this past year, Sisters Mary Joyce, Rose Marie Kelly, and Associates Mary Huth, Marion Drummond, Alba Pernas, Helen Wynne, we pray with hopeful hearts . . . 
  7.  For all CND Associates and Sisters throughout the world and for an increase of vocations that as we live in the footsteps or Mary and Marguerite we may be signs of peace, healing, inclusion and hope, we pray with trust-filled hearts…  

(Please add any additional intentions….)

Closing Prayer All: On this day of thanksgiving, receive, Lord, our prayer.  As you allowed Mary to keep the great mystery of your love in her heart, grant that we also remember your blessings.  We ask this through Jesus, your living Word.  Amen.

Let us offer each other a Sign of Peace.

Leader: Sending Forth

Go, like Mary, keeping in your heart the memory of God’s gifts!
Go, like Mary, knowing that God visits His people now and always!
Go, like Mary, living the gifts of the Holy Spirit!
Go in the peace of Christ!

All:  With Marguerite, let us praise and thank God.  According to her desire, let us imitate Mary. May this give meaning to our lives!  Like Marguerite, let us give thanks to God.

Closing Song Suggestion – Magnificat 

(Ave or Songs of the Visitation © KP Deignan, CND) Text and tune Mary Anne Foley, CND

Refrain: Our being proclaims Your greatness, O God, Our spirit finds joy in You.

For You’ve looked on us in our littleness:
Now we are blest.
And You in Your strength do great things for us— Holy Your name.

Your mercy lasts from age to age
for those who seek your love.
The ways of Your power, O Holy One
confuse the proud of heart.

You put the mighty from their thrones,
raise up the little ones.
You fill the hungry with good things,
the rich go empty away.

For You’ve helped your servant Israel,
remembering Your love,
As You promised to Sarah and Abraham
and their children, love without end.

 

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