Opening prayer: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) Lord, help us to make our prayers lead to actions that help those in need.
Leader: The four topics for our formation sessions in 2022-23 are built from Father Larry Hostetter’s talk on Caritas during Associates and Sisters Day 2022. Our third session is on Action.
Father Larry said Caritas – the Latin word for “love” – asks us three questions. The first is, “Who am I, as a loved person, who is someone called to love?” The second is, “As a person who is loved, what should I know as a person called to love?” The third is, “As a loved person, what should I do as someone called to love?”
Reader 1: “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed, someone may say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.”
Reader 2: “Act, move, believe, strive, hope, cry out to him with all your heart, for without doubt you will see marvelous things, if you direct everything to the praise and glory of his Majesty and the good of souls.”
Saint Angela, Introduction to the Counsels
Leader: Consider these questions and share with others in your group:
- What actions are you called to do as someone who is called to love?
- What are the obstacles that keep you from acting?
Leader: The three legs of Caritas reflect the last three popes. Pope John Paul II focused on who we are as Catholics. Pope Benedict understood theology. Pope Francis is all about action.
Reader 3: “Prayer that doesn’t lead to concrete action toward our brothers is a fruitless and incomplete prayer. But at the same time, when ecclesial service only attends to work, not reserving time for dialogue with God in prayer, it risks serving itself rather than God who is present in the brother in need. … Prayer and action must always be profoundly united.”
Reader 4: “I have never heard anything about the resolutions of the apostles, but a good deal about their acts.”
Og Mandino, American author
Leader: Consider these questions and share with others in your group.
- Simply adding tasks to our already busy lives is not what Jesus asks. How can you help ensure that prayer is what leads to your actions?
- How do you balance a call to action with “adding one more task” to your schedule?
Reader 5: “As for you, live and behave in such a way that your daughters may see in you a model. And what you want them to do, do it yourselves first. Act therefore in such a way that, also following your example, they may stir and spur themselves to virtuous living.”
Saint Angela, Sixth Counsel
Reader 6: “Whatever you do may seem insignificant to you, but it is most important that you do it.”
Reader 7: “Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”
Leader: Consider these questions and share with your group.
- Do you have an example of someone who modeled behavior that motivated you to act?
- How are some ways you can consciously model behavior that can result in positive actions in others?
Closing prayer: The Chinese have a saying: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” May the Lord and Saint Angela continue to nurture and guide us to “act, move and believe” to serve our brothers and sisters in need. Amen.