Feeding My Soul with Grace, Charity, and Goodness
by Sister Alice Ann Pfeifer CSA
When we pray “Hail, Mary, full of grace,” we repeat the words of the Angel Gabriel (see Luke 1:28). Grace, we know, is a kind of participation in your own innermost life, O Lord. Those who are full of grace breathe with your breath. They live and move and have their being totally in you—never losing their awareness of your presence in their lives, never turning their backs on your plans for them, never slackening in their commitment to your will.
Every November we honor all saints in heaven and proclaim them full of grace. Lord, this day I thank you especially for my patron saint and for the patron saints of Catholic institutions that have served my loved ones and me—the schools that we have attended; the parishes where we have worshiped; the hospitals, care facilities, and other places where we have found help and comfort.
I also thank you for every saint whose life has ever been made known to me through an inspiring book, magazine article, or film.
Your saints, gathered from among people of every age, race, and nation, have given me a glimpse into your own infinite holiness, O Lord, and it is wonderful to my eyes. Amen.
Observing All Souls Day brings to mind a Bible verse that says love is “stern as death” and “relentless as the netherworld” (Song of Songs 8:6). Every year on this day we lovingly remember friends and relatives who have preceded us in death. We entrust them to your care, O Lord, and we feel our own love for them revived and renewed.
We also commend to you all others who have died. It doesn’t matter if their lives and deeds have gone remembered or have been forgotten, are sung or not sung. All were created by you, Almighty God, and from the very beginning all were included in your plan of salvation.
Lord Jesus, whenever we receive you in Holy Communion, what a marvel it is to consider that we are joined more closely not only to you but also to everyone who belongs to you. Either this is true or your teaching about the vine and the branches is not true. Either this is true or Paul’s teaching about your Mystical Body is not true.
So for the mysterious union that you have made possible, now and forever, among all of us who belong to you and your Church—thank you, Lord Jesus. Amen.
I love you, O Lord, for your goodness—which is reflected everywhere I look, especially in the faces and the hearts of the ones I love.
I love my students, O Lord, for their childlike goodness, even when it is hidden like a tiny seed buried underground. Show me the best ways to nurture my students, Lord, so that their goodness might grow in your sight and eventually in the sight of all who come to know them.
Show me, in particular, when to be tender and when to be tough with them.
Your Son Jesus was a teacher, too, when he lived among us. He knew exactly when to praise his disciple Peter for the firmness of his faith and when to challenge Peter to greater faith. Jesus was the gentle Lamb of God whenever his disciples most needed gentleness. Yet, he also could be the unyielding Lion of Judah whenever his disciples needed correction and clear direction.
How blessed are the teachers who learn to teach as Jesus did, and how blessed are their students! 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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