Sunday, November 18, 2018

“O God, Glorify Thea….”

Lest it wasn't already clear, Church, Plenary Week always takes a bit of recovery and time to process... given this one, all the more.

While the scribe's putting the 600-piece jigsaw back together, however, what's arguably the lone "God-moment" born of these last days – by far the meeting's happiest turn – is already springing to life: later this morning, in the northern Mississippi cathedral from which her heroic witness would spread across this global Body, Sister Thea Bowman will be declared a Servant of God upon the formal opening of her cause for sainthood.

For no shortage of us, Wednesday's unanimous bench-vote that endorsed Thea's long-delayed walk to the altars was a dream come true. And if this is somehow news to you, yet again, you haven't been paying attention.

Though the resources of the Jackson church – by land, the largest diocese in the US' eastern half – are starkly thin, enthusiasm over the cause is inversely high across all sorts of quarters. Accordingly, to mark today's launch, a website for the cause has been rolled out, and with it, the following prayer for the intercession of our Sister and She-ro....

Ever loving God,
who by your infinite goodness
inflamed the heart of your Servant and religious,
Sister Thea Bowman,
with an ardent love for You and Your People, the Church:

a love expressed through her indomitable spirit,
her deep and abiding faith, dedicated teaching, exuberant singing,
and unwavering witnessing of the joy of the Gospel.

As her prophetic ministry continues to inspire us
to share the Good News with those whom we encounter
– most especially the poor, oppressed, and marginalized –
may Sister Thea’s life and legacy compel us
to walk together,
to pray together,
and to remain together as missionary disciples
ushering in a new evangelization for the Church we love.

Gracious God,
imbue us with the grace and perseverance
that you gave your Servant, Sister Thea.
For in turbulent times of racial injustice,
she sought equity, peace, and reconciliation.
In times of intolerance and ignorance,
she brought wisdom, awareness, unity, and charity.
In times of pain, sickness, and suffering,
she taught us how to live fully
until called home to the land of promise.

If it be your Will, O God,
glorify our beloved Sister Thea,
by granting the blessing I now request through her intercession
(mention your request)
so that all may know of her goodness and holiness
and may imitate her love for You and Your Church.

We ask this through Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.
*  *  *
Meanwhile, for those in need of Thea 101, here again is the Servant of God's celebrated preach to the bench at the US bishops' June 1989 meeting at Seton Hall, nine months before her death from bone cancer at 52.

At her insistence, two words were carved on her tombstone: "She Tried."

Especially in these days, may we who remain know the grace to begin to do just that.

Blessed Thea, pray for us... please help us to get home.