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Feeding My Soul with New Beginnings, Work, and Rest
by Sister Alice Ann Pfeifer CSA
Feeding My Soul is designed especially for you—the catechist. It names a catechetical value and gives you the words of prayer for your personal time with the Lord.
With new beginnings
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for new beginnings! This time of year always reminds me of Septembers past. When I was young, how much I enjoyed the clean smell of new crayons, pencils, and erasers at the beginning of the school year. How much I loved the look and feel of a paper tablet with blank pages waiting for me to fill them.

Now that I am older, my excitement has grown deeper and richer—because now I sit on the other side of the teacher’s desk. Now I am called to teach in your name.

What great trust you have put in me, Lord Jesus! I am reminded of the passage in John’s Gospel when three times you asked Peter if he loved you. Each time he said yes, you responded with a request that he care for your flock. You asked the big burly fisherman to ply a new trade!

Today you put that same charge to me: “Feed my lambs.” With what shall I feed them? With the good news that each one is personally loved and gifted by you, that each one belongs to a community of love and learning ruled and guided by your Holy Spirit. Amen.

With work
“Work is love made visible,” the poet Kahlil Gibran once wrote. Dear Father in heaven, how easy it is for me sometimes to lose sight of the dignity of work. Yet, every September brings a fresh reminder when our country celebrates Labor Day.

Father, when I am tempted to take shortcuts that diminish the quality of my work, remind me that work is love made visible.

On the other hand, when I get so feverish about my work that I lose sight of the young people I am serving, remind me that work is love made visible.

When the hour is late and I am growing weary of my labors, remind me that work is love made visible.

When the hour is early and I am reluctant to leave the comfort of my bed, remind me that work is love made visible.

Most of all, dear Father, keep me ever attuned to the work that your Spirit is continually doing in our world—sanctifying all that you have created and all that your Son has redeemed. Triune God, truly all of your mighty deeds are signs of an infinite love made infinitely visible! Amen.

With rest
Lord Jesus, when you lived and worked among us as a teacher and healer, you took time for regular periods of rest from your labors. Sometimes you withdrew to a mountain to pray. Sometimes you relaxed at a wedding feast. You regularly enjoyed the hospitality of friends like Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. In the rhythms of your ordinary human life, you set a pace that, even today, your followers would do well to match.

Yet, how silly we human beings can be. Sometimes we think we can and should work harder than you ever worked. Who do we think we are? Just as you once said, Lord Jesus, servants are never greater than their masters; students, never greater than their teachers.

You always knew when it was time to stop and observe the lilies growing in the fields or the sparrows flying through the air. In these things, you saw signs of your Father’s providence.

Lord Jesus, may your Holy Spirit always keep me mindful of the dignity of rest. Amen.

Sister Alice Ann Pfeifer, CSA, has been a Sister of St. Agnes for over 30 years and a religion teacher and writer for the past 20 years. She has a master’s degree in pastoral studies from St. Joseph’s College of Maine.

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