I remember when I was asked to lead an ACTS retreat here in Texas. The ACTS apostolate has brought many thousands of people back to the faith. Now, I’m not one to see visions, but one night around 2:00 a.m., as we got closer to the actual date of the retreat that our team had worked so hard to prepare, I awoke to a black cloud enveloping me, and I could sense the evil it contained. I jumped out of bed and yelled, not for my husband who was just inches away from me, but for Jesus to protect me. I don’t remember my exact words, something along the lines of, “Jesus, save me!” The cloud disappeared, and after a bit of a calming period, I returned to sleep.
When we begin to move into ministry, we know Jesus as Preacher as our example, who proclaimed the promises of God amid those who knew him in Nazareth. And we know the evil one wants nothing more than to tear down whatever good we are attempting to do. He will turn those who know us away, as happened to Jesus. The need of prayer for those entering ministry, especially, Priests, Deacons, and religious, is vital to their safety and their peace, giving them the ability to do God’s work, and to pursue a loving and merciful God with their whole heart and soul, while protecting them from the works of the devil. There is always an opportunity to enter spiritual warfare, a spiritual attack on our souls, as we try to do God’s work. But we must be steadfast and persistent in our prayers.
We know what Jesus overcame for us. He never did the things he did to be successful – he did them in a quest of faithfulness to the Father, his Father.
One of my favorite songs, He Has Anointed Me, comes from today’s Gospel reading. I close with the lyrics and ask you to meditate on the blessing of these words:
To bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the broken heart, He has anointed me.
To proclaim liberty to captives, release the prisoners, He has anointed me.
To announce a year of favor, to comfort those who mourn, He has anointed me.
To give to them the oil of gladness and share a mantle of joy, He has anointed me.
The Spirit of God is upon me, He has anointed me.
Patty Masson supports the Passionists from Spring, Texas.