Sunday, June 10, 2007

Praying for the World

I am Leslee Simms. This will be my second summer of walking with the Missionaries of the Eucharist and I marvel at the grace of God which has allowed me to be here. I literally feel like I was picked up by the Holy Spirit and placed here. I can hardly believe that God loves me enough to have done this for me. I know that being here is a total gift of grace, nothing in my life merits what God has done for me.

Throughout my life God has watched out for me in a really amazing ways. My first powerful experience of God occurred when I was between 5 and 7 years old. I felt compelled to pray and spent what seemed like all night doing so. God was so real for me that night and spoke so deeply to my heart that even now when I have struggles and doubts I return to this experience for comfort. I have no idea why God spoke to me that night. Although my parents did occasionally talk to me about God, we never attended Church and religion was not really part of our lives. Despite this, God spoke to me and helped me draw close to Him.

Finally, when I was in middle school, my family and I began to attend Catholic Mass. It was absolutely beautiful and I fell in love. The longings of my heart now had a context. I soaked in all that was said like a sponge. Particularly wonderful was coming to know the Holy Spirit, who I had never heard of previously.

The next major moment in my faith journey came between my sophomore and junior years of high school. I was blessed to be able to attend World Youth Day in Toronto. Pope John Paul II was there. He was such an amazing and beautiful presence. At this time I really understood the beauty of Catholicism and I first heard my vocational call to be a religious sister (nun).

Due to the fact that I was feeling called to religious life, I decided to attend a Catholic college: the College of St. Benedict/ St. John’s University in Minnesota. During my freshmen year of college, I began to participate in daily Mass. It was so beautiful and became the source of my life. This was especially so as I grew in my understanding of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. One of my professors explained to us that at the moment of Consecration, we mystically leave normal historical time and are present at the foot of the Cross. We are graced to re-enter into the sacrifice of Christ and as He gives Himself to us fully out of His great love we receive His very body and blood, soul and divinity. This is Heaven on Earth and nothing is more beautiful.

As I was growing in my love for Christ and the Mass, I was also growing in the pro-life movement. Prior to coming to college, if anyone would have asked me, I would have said I was pro-life, but it was not really much of an issue for me. This just was not something that I thought about. Then, when I got to college, one of my friends signed me up for Students for Life (SFL). With SFL I attended the Midwest Students’ Forum for Life; it was an incredibly powerful experience. I remember one of the speakers saying that if we know abortion to be murder, and we know that 4,000 children are thus murdered everyday, we have to do something. This really struck me to the core: how can I sit back and do nothing when so many children are being killed and so many mothers are being wounded every single day?

At this same conference, I saw a flyer for the Crusade for Life. The flyer said that American Life League was looking for college students to walk across the country during the summer in order to spread the Gospel of Life. For several months I prayed about participating in the Crusade and finally in February I applied and was accepted. The Crusade began at the end of May and lasted until mid August. It was life-changing. We spent three months praying to end abortion and went to many, many clinics. Being outside of the abortion clinics is the hardest thing I have ever done. These places are filled with such immense pain. The women walking in are devastated. Despite what anyone might say, no one chooses abortion. People are there because they feel they have no other choice. There is no greater tragedy than that women would feel forced to kill their own children. When the women come back out of the clinics this becomes even more obvious. Most of the time they can barely walk, and always their faces are blank. It is so obvious that something has been irreplaceably taken from them. I cannot even begin to describe the horror that is carried in their bodies.

After being present at the clinics, I knew that I had to do whatever I could to help end abortion. This pain simply cannot be allowed to continue. It is killing our world, literally and spiritually. So…this is my third year doing a summer walk for life. Last year and this year has been not with the Crusade for Life, but with the Missionaries of the Eucharist, and our mission is somewhat broader. We are working to spread the Theology of the Body (TOB). Briefly, TOB is about the fact that all people are gifts and that to be in authentic relationships with others we have to give ourselves fully to them and allow them to give themselves fully back to us. On a human level, this occurs must perfectly in a marriage where love is free, total, faithful, and fruitful. However, all of our relationships should model truly treating everyone we meet as a wonderful and unique person. The complete antithesis of this type of loving relationship is abortion, where instead of being able to love their children; parents are forced into killing them. The pain all those involved with abortion feel is a testimony to how completely horrific this tragedy is. Please, please pray for healing for all those who have been hurt by abortion and please pray that abortion may end soon.

This is my constant prayer; it is the prayer of our summer and our mission. I know it will be accomplished. I know this because of the hope we have in Christ Jesus our Lord, who is the Lord of love. We see His love for us so perfectly in the Eucharist. On the Cross, Christ gave Himself completely to us out of love. He gives us His very body and blood, soul and divinity, holding absolutely nothing back. As Catholics, we have the amazing privilege of being able to receive this gift of Christ to us each and every day during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is so incredibly beautiful. I cannot even begin to think about how wondrous Christ’s love is. This love will heal the world. This is our hope as Christians. Our task is to live inside this hope and to allow God to work through us to share it with all the world. Let us go forth in prayer and hope!

God bless,
Leslee

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When you use the "Missionaries of the Eucharist" blog name, could you note who has left the post?

Thanks.
- Phil

Who we are?

Every summer we, the Missionaries of the Eucharist, are walking from Lewiston, Maine to Washington, DC to proclaim the beauty of the Catholic faith to everyone we meet, specifically through the Theology of the Body.

Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.

We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.