I've been eagerly waiting the May link-up for Three Reasons I Love Catholicism on Micaela's blog, and it's finally here!
MARTYRS...stay with me now.... I have recently read several stories of martyrs which emphasized their exultant spirits in the face of their martyrdom. These people were not victims - for the joy that was set before them, they endured the physical pain and counted it as nothing. They stepped into their martyrdom with dignity, and why not? They were about to receive the crown of eternal life! What got me thinking about this is the recent memorial day for saints Felicity and Perpetua. Felicity actually prayed for her baby to be born early so she could be included in the group that was to be martyred, since it was against the law to kill a pregnant woman! A more recent example is Miguel Pro. He refused to be blindfolded at his execution (see picture above).
Thinking about martyrs is sort of like reading the book of Job - it's usually the LAST thing on the "to-do" list. But these saints have something very profound to teach us, and we're ignoring something that God sees as beyond price if we shrink from reflecting on the glory and the power in their witness.
PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH. These are the prayers that the church universal prays...so much different from our individual and spontaneous prayers. I have more to say about this in a post that I did a few days ago. If anyone who prays the Liturgy of the Hours reads this, I would love it if you would contact me about your experience and what you have learned.
RELIGIOUS ORDERS. I'm thinking especially of those who devote their lives to praying for the church and for the world. The longer I've walked the path of prayer the more convinced I am that God chooses to not to act without the prayers of His people. I am convinced that every work of God we see in human beings - physical miracles, conversions, transformations, visions, all of it - happens only because someone prayed for it. It almost makes my head explode to consider this, and at the same time it increases my gratitude for those living a life consecrated to prayer. What better daily prayer than to pray for all the people in religious orders who pray for all of us?