Sunday, October 20, 2013

Poor Clare Cross Prayer



Several times a day, Poor Clares pray with arms outstretched in what we call the “Cross Prayer”.  I always smile to see a new postulant gradually getting used to this usually unfamiliar prayer position.  They must be told what it is not:  it is not calisthenics (one, two, arms above your heads, touch your toes…), it is not ballet (I have seen lovely coronals), it not an act of defiance (hands raised in the air clenched as fists or pushing out), it is not wimpy (elbows bent and sinking—come on, you can do it!).  No, it is none of these, but it is an act of penance offered in union with our Lord’s Passion on behalf of all our suffering brothers and sisters. 

I think of the Cross Prayer whenever we have today’s reading from Exodus that describes how Moses climbed a mountain to pray for Joshua and the Israelites as they fought their enemies.  When Moses raised his hands, Israel had the better of the fight, but when Moses lowered his hands, the enemy had the battle go their way.  As Moses grew weary, his companions, Aaron and Hur supported his hands so that Joshua was able to finally win the victory.


In this story from the Old Testament we have a foreshadowing of the entire Church.  Contemplative monks and nuns pray on their mountains of solitude for the Church militant fighting the battles of salvation.  But monastics need the support of the hierarchy, represented by Aaron the priest, and their good benefactors, represented by the layman Hur.  Although we do not literally hold our hands up in prayer continuously, yet our whole lives are spent as a sacrificial offering for the embattled Church.  We are ever grateful to our faithful priests who give us the inestimable sustenance of the Sacraments as well as their instruction and advice.  We are likewise grateful for our friends who sustain us in our material needs.  Without the support of our Aaron and Hur, we could never live our monastic, contemplative lives.  Nor could they well do the tasks God asks of them without the vivifying grace that flows through the channel of our prayer.  Whatever our diverse vocations, let us be united in the Heart of Christ for the furthering of His Kingdom!


6 comments:

Sister Veronica said...

Pax et Bonum! Thank you for the lovely post on the Cross Prayer. We pray them on Fridays following Vespers. A beautiful Franciscan custom. God bless you Sisters. So glad to see the growth of your Novitate.

In Christ and Saint Francis,
Sister M. Veronica, OSF

Ester Regina said...

May God bless you and your own community, dear Sister!

vmurray354 said...

Please, Sisters, would you kindly share that prayer? It would be a wonderful daily practice! Thank you and God love you, Veronica

Ester Regina said...

Dear Veronica, Each Sister says her own prayer! Some pray the Psalms, especially Ps. 50 and 130, others meditate on the Passion of our Lord, and some say the traditional 5 Our Fathers, Hail Mary and Glory be in honor of the five wounds. God bless you in your desire to join us in our Cross Prayer!

Terry Amabile said...

Such a beautiful prayer and reflection on the meaning of prayer. Continue your good works and prayers since it will help save the earth!

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
The Bible, Matthew 5:2-12

Terry Amabile said...

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(Here is a great spiritual Catholic link on Facebook. I started this website with my Mother and sisters. Just sharing since we post inspirational quotes, blogs and useful links from "Our Lady of Perpectual Help"